Calling it an example of "self-serving corporate greed,” Marin County Supervisor and Mill Valley resident Charles McGlashan said the county intends to defend itself against a .
But McGlashan warned that the lawsuit and the environmental impact report (EIR) the lawsuit seeks to force the county to conduct would come with a high price tag for taxpayers.
McGlashan, who represents Mill Valley, Belvedere, Sausalito and Tiburon, said the board is undeterred following the lawsuit filed by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition on Feb. 24.
Amid enthusiastic cheers from the public, the supervisors ordinance on Jan. 25, with a 4 to 0 vote. On top of banning plastic bags in unincorporated Marin, the ordinance imposes a 5-cent fee per paper bag for anyone who forgets their own reusable bags at grocery stores.
The lawsuit argues that the county violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by passing the ban without completing an 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,” the coalition’s counsel Stephen Joseph told Patch the day the suit was filed.
The coalition claims that an EIR would prove 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.
Since the county did not complete an EIR, the ordinance should be deemed invalid, the coalition argues.
“This is just self-serving corporate greed,” said McGlashan.
McGlashan that the coalition’s claims that an EIR would invalidate the ordinance were unfounded and studies have shown that similar bans encourage the use of reusable bags.
If the county must go through with an EIR because of the lawsuit, McGlashan said that the board would approve the ordinance again after the EIR was completed. The cost of legal fees and an EIR could total millions of dollars.
“All this lawsuit is doing is running up the bill for the tax payer,” he said.