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Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. County of Marin

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20148
Nos. A133868, (Cal. Ct. App. 1st Dist., 06/25/2013)

A California appellate court upheld a county ordinance banning single-use plastic bags and imposing a fee on single-use paper bags against claims that the ordinance was enacted in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The county determined that the ordinance was categorically exempt from CEQA because it was a regulatory action designed to assure the maintenance, restoration, enhancement, or protection of natural resources and the environment. The court agreed. Substantial evidence supports the county's conclusion, and the group challenging the ordinance failed to demonstrate how the ordinance will have significant environmental impacts. And even if the county did not comply with certain aspects of its own guidelines for asserting a categorical exemption, the group failed to explain how any such noncompliance with the county's own guidelines constitutes a CEQA violation.