SACRAMENTO -- Assemblyman Mark Stone wants the plastics industry to help rid the ocean of its plastic problem.

Stone, a Scotts Valley Democrat, and Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, announced legislation Wednesday that aims to lift the cost of controlling and cleaning up plastic pollution -- which makes up the majority of marine debris -- from local governments and place it firmly on the shoulders of plastics manufacturers.

"Plastic trash hurts our oceans and beaches in a significant and permanent way. It also wastes taxpayer money, burdens local governments and is a preventable cause of pollution," Stone said. "This bill will address the problem at its source."

With a Friday deadline for lawmakers to submit bills, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Producer Responsibility Act focuses on intent rather than specifics. Stone said those would be worked out as the legislative session proceeds, but he wants to reduce the need for local littler-control programs and beach cleanups.

Stone, who as a county supervisor authored Santa Cruz County's plastic bag ban, also wants to gather more information through meetings with interested parties. One fact-finding vehicle could be the Assembly's new Select Committee on Coastal Protection, which Stone chairs.

The bill likely faces an uphill climb. Efforts to pass a statewide plastic bag ban faltered in recent years in the face of industry opposition, including from the American Chemistry Council trade group.

"We have not yet seen the bill, but it is early in the process and we look forward to working with the sponsors and other stakeholders to find workable solutions to our shared commitment to ocean health," said Steve Russell, the American Chemistry Council's vice president of plastics, who noted that plastic makers are working elsewhere to address the problem.

But others praised the bill, including bill sponsor Natural Resources Defense Council, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Save Our Shores, a Santa Cruz nonprofit that organizes frequent local beach cleanups.

Environmentalists have focused on plastics -- particularly plastic bags that blow across urban landscapes -- calling them everything from a shoreline blight to a threat to marine life.

A 2012 study done for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that West Coast communities along the coast and in coastal watersheds spend $520 million annually cleaning up trash. Much of that debris, the authors argued, would likely otherwise end up in the ocean.

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