Many cities in California, starting with San Francisco, have enacted or are considering bans on plastic shopping bags. The Save the Plastic Bag Coalition has been striking back. Its case against the City of Manhattan Beach was recently accepted for review by the California Supreme Court.
Save the Plastic Bag Coalition claims that the City of Manhattan Beach should have conducted an environmental impact report before adopting its plastic bag ban. The California Court of Appeal agreed with the coalition, and now the California Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case later this year or in 2011. If the Supreme Court agrees with the appellate court, the cost and delay of implementing plastic bag bans for cities and counties could increase greatly in the short term.
While the litigation continues, though, so do new bans on plastic bags. Santa Cruz County recently approved a ban, with the caveat that it would not go into effect until an environmental impact report is completed. To help cities and counties considering bans with the environmental impacts, Green Cities California has made available a Master Environmental Assessment on its website (http://greencitiescalifornia.org/mea). Check in for updates as the case progresses.