Save the Plastic Bag Coalition filed a lawsuit against Marin County today for that would ban all plastic bags at groceries and check-counters in unincorporated Marin.
The lawsuit (attached at right) argues that the county violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by passing the ban without completing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) first.
“We’re suing based on the fact that the plastic bag ban issue requires science, namely environmental science, before a rational, intelligent decision can be made,” said Stephen Joseph, attorney for the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition.
The Marin Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the ordinance on Jan. 25. On top of banning plastic bags, the ordinance will also impose a 5-cent fee for each paper bag a shopper needs because they forgot to bring a reusable bag.
The coalition claims that an EIR would’ve proved that a 5-cent fee wouldn’t be enough to dissuade shoppers from using paper bags, and the life cycle of paper bags results in 3.3 times the greenhouse gas emissions than plastic bags.
“The county has not even attempted to comply with CEQA,” Joseph said. “In contrast, Los Angeles County, San Jose and Santa Monica completed EIRs before banning plastic bags.”
Since the county did not complete an EIR, the ordinance should be deemed invalid, the coalition argues.
Supervisors anticipated a lawsuit back in January when Joseph told them during the public comment section that the coalition would be taking legal action against the ordinance.
Supervisor Charles McGlashan, who represents Mill Valley, Belvedere, Sausalito and Tiburon, after they passed the ban that the price of the litigation would cost between $5,000 to $10,000 less than an EIR, which could cost millions.
None of the supervisors were available for comment. The county has 30 days to issue a response.