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Chico's plastic bag ban back on course

By Tyler May, tmay@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jul 31 2013 07:13:42 PM CDT
CHICO, Calif. -

Chico’s plastic bag ban was put on hold because the city was threatened with a lawsuit.

Now, after seeing another community go through the turmoil of banning plastic bags and winning their case, Chico is ready to move forward with the ban.

It was Marin County that went through a lawsuit filed by the save the plastic bag coalition, and because the county won its case, the belief is that Chico will have nothing to worry about.

"Every single possible legal maneuver was implemented by the 'Save the Plastic Bag’ coalition. They did everything they could to stop us from passing this bill," said Councilman Randall Stone about why the plastic bag ban was initially pulled off the table.

“For us to defend that, it would be expensive, particularly during this time of budgets now there's nothing to defend," said Stone.

The 'Save the Plastic Bag' coalition had argued the bag ban would harm the environment if the city didn't charge for paper bags as well.

“So if we put a fee on the paper bags, then we are no longer decimating some forest either in this state or another portion of the world,” said Stone.

Though Marin County defended these arguments and won, Chico will move forward hoping to avoid litigation.

“We are planning to move ahead bringing the plastic bag ban and the 10-cent fee on paper bags to the Chico city council meeting September,” said Stone.

Because Chico has the green light for the plastic bag ban, that decision still lies with the city council, but some people are saying that they would rather keep things the way they are.

“I don't think we need to be moved in that direction by adding a tax to our bags,” said Christine Williams, who opposes the bag ban.

Williams uses plastic bags a lot in her daily routines, and can't imagine being without them.

“I actually use plastic bags for other things as well rather than groceries. I use them for trash, gardening -- to clean the waste from that,” said Williams.

Williams shops for her husband and her two growing teenage boys at least once a week. She said her cart was filled to the brim with plastic bags and says this is the best way to get her groceries home.

“I mean, my sons will go out to my car and grab the bags and take 10 bags at a time," Williams said. "So, it's very easy to get the groceries in and out.”

The plastic bag ban issue will makes its way to the city council in September. If passed, it will go into effect starting next year.