Aug 22 - CAW Joins Defense of Marin County Bag Ban


Superior Court Judge M. Lynn Duryee has granted CAW’s "friend of the court" (amicus curiae) request to assist Marin County in defending their plastic bag ban against a legal challenge from the Industry-funded Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (STPBC).

CAW has been working with local governments across the state to enact ordinances that eliminate single-use plastic grocery bags because of their cost to consumers and threat to the environment. So far 13 jurisdictions in the state have voted to ban the bags.

In July, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of CAW’s defense of a similar ordinance in Manhattan Beach, after the city was sued by STPBC.

Despite the Supreme Court ruling, the STPBC has sued Marin County’s ordinance, this time arguing that the ordinance is preempted by state law (AB 2449). CAW was the legislative sponsor of AB 2449, and will demonstrate that neither the plain language nor legislative history support the STPBC argument.

From its inception STPBC has attempted to delay local ordinances with litigation threats and demands of costly and lengthy EIRs. But last January, Marin County refused to be bullied by STPBC and passed a single-use bag ordinance using two categorical exemptions from CEQA. It is the first jurisdiction since 2008 to adopt an exemption.

In the response brief to STPBC's petition, the County makes a compelling argument as to why a plastic bag ban with a five cent minimum price requirement on paper bags falls under a categorical exemption, and summarizes "the County’s true goal is to enhance the environment by moving the public away from all types of single-use bags in favor of reusable bags."

Among other statements, the County also points out that STPBC "…not only fundamentally misconstrues the California Environmental Quality Act…but also blatantly attempts to ‘spin’ the recent directly on point California Supreme Court case via its own wishful thinking."

The trial court hearing is scheduled for September 13 at 9 am in Marin County, and CAW will be there to help defend the ordinance and answer any questions the court may have regarding AB 2449.

CAW’s legal bill defending local ordinances and battling the plastic industry-funded lawyers have stretched our resources. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation online today and help us to defeat the plastics industry and phase out single-use plastic bags.