Energy & Environment

California plastic bag ban may be delayed or scrapped

Opponents of California’s ban on disposal plastic bags say they have gathered enough signatures to force a statewide referendum on the policy.

The petition, which was due Monday, could cause the state to delay the ban while voters consider whether to overturn the nation’s first statewide plastic bag ban, thanks to a signature drive organized by the plastics industry-backed American Progressive Bag Alliance, the Sacramento Bee reported.

{mosads}The group said that in the 90-day window it was allotted, it gathered 800,000 signatures, far more than the 504,760 needed to get on the November 2016 ballot. Counties must now sample some of the signatures to determine if they are valid.

“We are pleased to have reached this important milestone in the effort to repeal a terrible piece of job-killing legislation and look forward to giving California voters a chance to make their voice heard at the ballot box in 2016,” Lee Califf, executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, said in a statement to the Bee.

If the signatures check out, California would have to delay implementing the ban until after the vote.

The plastics industry stands to lose revenue from the ban. But it also fears that if it stands, the ban could spur other states toward similar measures.

The industry spent millions lobbying against the ban and for the ballot measure, vastly outspending environmental groups, the Bee said.

The bag group says the ban would have no environmental benefit and is just a giveaway to the grocers who pushed for the law.

“SB 270 was never a bill about the environment,” Califf said in the statement. “It was a backroom deal between the grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars in bag fees without providing any public benefit.”

Grocers told the Bee that they’re still preparing for next year’s implementation of the law.

Tags California plastic bags
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