By Roger Kube
When it comes to the reduction of plastic litter and pollution in San Diego County, 2016 has been a year of victories. With the Surfrider Foundation leading the way, Del Mar, Oceanside and the city of San Diego have each passed single-use plastic bag reduction ordinances, commonly known as "plastic bag bans."
These ordinances will result in the removal of more than 700 million plastic check-out bags from circulation annually. That's great news, especially since up to 80 percent of the marine debris found on San Diego County beaches every year are made of plastic, and plastic bags are routinely one of the top five items collected during beach clean-ups.
Governor Brown signed California's statewide plastic bag ban, SB 270, into law in September 2014. Unfortunately, the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA), a lobbying group of bag manufacturers whose sole purpose is to fight bag bans, spent over $3 million raising signatures to stall SB 270 and force it to a popular vote.
We now have the chance to turn the tables with two referendums on the November ballot that deal specifically with California's statewide plastic bag ban – but those ballot measures are very different from each other, and each would have different results. Prop. 67 is the more straightforward of the two, and a YES vote on it will uphold California's landmark SB 270 as it was signed into law two years ago. Prop. 65, on the other hand, is a deceitful, APBA-backed measure designed to trick voters.
On its face, Prop. 65 sounds pro-environment, but plastic bag manufacturers are hoping to use it to undermine businesses' support for Prop. 67 by making them bear the full cost of more expensive, recycled paper bags. While the fee reimburses retailers for replacing their plastic bags (1-2 cents each) with more expensive paper and reusable bags (10-15 cents each), it would also erode the public's support by turning the proposed 10-cent fee into a government tax.
So please, on Nov. 8, vote YES on 67 – and vote NO on 65.
For our oceans, waves and beaches.
Roger Kube is the former chair of the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and a member of the chapter's advisory committee.
Photo by Tommy Hough.
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