Oct 1 - Court Upholds SLO Bag Ban on Its First Day

On the same day that the San Luis Obispo (SLO) County's reusable bag ordinance became operative, an SLO Superior Court Judge denied a petition by Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (STPBC) which claimed that the ordinance had violated environmental law.

SLO Integrated Waste Management Authority adopted a plastic bag ban and 10 cent charge per paper bag in January. The ordinance applies to large stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores throughout the County and its incorporated cities.

STPBC, a coalition with members that include plastic bag manufacturers, is notorious for threatening to sue cities and counties that do not conduct an Environmental Impact Report for their bag ordinances, citing the California Environmental Quality Act requirements.

However, Judge Charles Crandall found that the evidence submitted by STPBC for negative environmental impacts from the SLO ordinance (which could then require an EIR) "falls short of the mark." The evidence was not specific to the SLO area and instead was relevant to other parts of the country or even outside the US.


"Most of the Coalition's evidence focuses on the evils of paper bags; yet, the consumption of paper bags is also targeted for reduction by the Ordinance. Hence, the Coalition is trying to knock down a straw man of its own creation."

Interestingly enough, STPBC apparently tried to file a notice of dismissal for the case earlier that day even though the ruling was expected to be released shortly. Could they have been afraid and anticipating yet another unfavorable outcome for the coalition? If that's the case, then this is a rare moment in which STPBC was right on the mark.

Read more in the SLO Tribune on the ruling and public reaction during the first day of the ordinance.