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The California Grocers Association has denounced the failure of the California State Senate to pass Assembly Bill 1998, what it calls a historic compromise between business and the environmental community that would have prohibited the distribution of single-use plastic bags at checkout while providing new incentives for consumers to bring their own reusable bags.
The measure failed after a strong lobbying effort by the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
“It’s clear that the Senate felt pressure by the American Chemistry Council’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions; misinformation campaign and radio, television, and print ads designed to kill this historic compromise,” said Ronald Fong, president, CGA. “AB 1998 would have established a statewide standard designed to bring predictability to consumers and operational and competitive fairness to retailers. This bill would’ve been good for consumers, good for business, and good for the environment and its defeat is a failure for Californians.”
According to CGA, the ACC is the same chemical conglomerate that has fought every reasonable effort to prevent and rid California neighborhoods and waterways from plastic pollution, and it has a history of big spending in pursuit of stopping bag bans -- most recently spending more than $1 million in the City of Seattle to thwart an effort to regulate single-use plastic carryout bags.
CGA said that currently 75 municipalities are considering local ordinances that will ban plastic bags and place fees of 25 cents or more on paper bags.
This weekend, Southern California municipal officials reconfirmed their intent to move forward with local ordinances if this bill did not pass.
“The Chemical industry used grossly inflated figures and deceptive imagery in their campaign,” added Fong. “They threw up a smoke screen that may have worked today, but once the air clears, they will find that Californians will still demand a bag ban – the question is not 'if,' but 'how' and 'when.'”
The CGA is a non-profit trade association representing approximately 500 retail members operating over 6,000 food stores in California and Nevada, and approximately 200 grocery supplier companies. Retail membership includes chain and independent supermarkets, convenience stores, and mass merchandisers.