A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge tossed out Manhattan Beach's ban on plastic bags today, ruling that the city should have fully studied the prohibition's potential environmental consequences and thereby squelching a ban set to kick in next week.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Yaffe decided that the city must consider that a proliferation of paper bags, a likely result of banning plastic carriers, could threaten the environment. The ban was set to kick in next week.
"The judge said the city is required by law to do an environmental impact report because there is a fair argument that there would be a substantial impact on the environment," said Manhattan Beach City Attorney Bob Wadden. "There's a potential impact from the fact that more paper will be used."
The ruling is a victory for the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, a group of plastics manufacturers that sued the city in August, arguing that Manhattan Beach violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not fully analyzing the ban's potential environmental effects before approving it in July.
Instead, Manhattan Beach conducted an initial study of the ban, believing the
In his ruling, Yaffe did say Manhattan Beach had the power to ban plastic bags - and that may still very well come to be, Wadden said.
The City Council will discuss its options next month, when it will consider appealing the ruling or starting the prohibition process again, this time by conducting a full environmental analysis, he said.
"What this really is is a delaying tactic, and I do think it's meant to send a message to the other city out there looking to ban plastic bags," Wadden said. "It's buying (the coalition) time, but it isn't going to stop the cities that are determined to ban plastic bags."