Stephen Joseph, counsel for the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (STPBC), recently filed a complaint against the City of Santa Cruz for its plastic bag ban.
Just last week, the court ruled against STPBC for its complaint on the San Francisco bag ban. It's not the first time the group has lost in the courts. STPBC lost the case in the California Supreme Court against the City of Manhattan Beach in July of 2011, which Joseph sued for using a Negative Declaration for its plastic bag ban. He also lost in the Marin County Superior Court for the County’s plastic bag ban with paper bag charge, adopted using a Categorical Exemption.
Despite these losses, Joseph continues to argue that a full Environmental Impact Report is needed for plastic bag ordinances like Santa Cruz's. Although LA County’s ten cent charge on paper bags has resulted in 94% reduction of all single-use bags, Joseph wants a higher paper bag charge.
Incredibly, he is also arguing that—despite the fact that Santa Cruz doesn’t include restaurants in the ban—their definition of a restaurant is not inclusive enough and violates CA law.
The city is reportedly considering a settlement to avoid litigation costs--although if the trend holds, an eventual court ruling would be favorable to local governments. The growing number of court victories indicate an approaching end to these unnecessary lawsuits.
Later today the San Francisco Superior Court will hear STPBC's request to delay (motion to stay) the implemention of the San Francisco bag ordinance, which is set to go into effect at the beginning of next month. Read the City's opposition brief.
*UPDATE* The stay was denied on the afternoon of 9/18. San Francisco's bag ordinance will be operative October 1, 2012.
Stay tuned on our website for updates on this and other plastic bag ordinances and cases.