Save the Plastic Bag Coalition Sues Santa Cruz County - And It's Not About CEQA!
It comes as no great surprise that Save the Plastic Bag Coalition filed a lawsuit against Santa Cruz County yesterday. However, what makes this lawsuit different is that it's not a Writ of Mandate under CEQA! Santa Cruz County adopted a plastic bag ordinance last month pursuant to a mitigated negative declaration. The question of whether SPBC would file a lawsuit under CEQA seemed a little up in the air considering that SPBC didn't sue Santa Clara County, which also adopted a ban pursuant to a negative declaration - but now the suspense is over. The CEQA landscape is looking a bit more clear, but SPBC has a few new arguments.
The Complaint re-hashes the same old AB 2449 preemption argument (that failed in Marin) and adds a new argument about the dangers of banning plastic bags at restaurants and a couple constitutional arguments. With regard to restaurants, SPBC argues that Health & Safety Code section 113705 preempts the ordinance because it is the intent of the Legislature that the state "occupy the whole field with regard to health and safety standards for retail food facilities." SPBC argues that "By banning restaurant plastic bags, the County was implicitly and effectively determining that eliminating restaurant plastic bags is a sanitary, safe, and health food practice."
This is just another meritless (but creative) attempt by the plastics industry to delay plastic bag ordinances in California.