On Thursday, the California Supreme Court issued a decision reversing a previous Court of Appeal decision that ruled the City of Manhattan Beach should have conducted a full Environmental Impact Report to inform their plastic bag ban ordinance adopted back in July 2008.
A group of plastic bag manufacturers known as Save the Plastic Bag had opposed the City of Manhattan Beach plastic bag ban, arguing that switching to paper bags would actually increase the volume in landfills and have other adverse environmental impacts. The California Supreme Court reversed a previous decision by the Court of Appeal (who sided with Save the Plastic Bag) concluding “substantial evidence and common sense support the city’s determination that its ordinance would have no significant environmental effect.”
This ruling now paves the way for cities considering similar policies to move forward. The decision sends a strong message that these frivolous lawsuits brought by polluting interests against environmental laws under the guise of the California Environmental Quality Act are a waste of time and money.
To read more about the case, see Mark Gold's blog post, "Sweet Justice."