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Olive Avenue Confidential: City Council should join fight against plastic

September 14, 2010|By Joe Piasecki

In an ironic legal twist, bag producers have so far been successful in using California Environmental Quality Act requirements to tie up a 2008 Manhattan Beach ban, arguing that cities must first complete extensive and potentially costly environmental impact reports before taking action.

For Burbank and other area cities, however, the outcome of that case may soon matter very little.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is just weeks away from releasing a detailed environmental impact report on a plastic-bag ban that could save Burbank and other cities time and money.

While the primary purpose of the document is for county supervisors to consider banning retail distribution of disposable bags in unincorporated areas, the overall substance of its more than 700 pages also applies to communities throughout the region.

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In other words, cities such as Burbank could basically adopt a version of the county's report with additional local findings, said county civil engineer Coby Skye, who's heading up the effort.

Sounds like a good deal to me, but why stop there?

With Glendale and Pasadena also making environmental protection a priority, Burbank officials should take a leadership role in developing uniform rules that would apply equally to our neighbors, reducing any potential disadvantage for local merchants while increasing benefits to residents.

"We'd be very supportive," Dodson said of a Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena ban, "especially if it was happening across all three cities."

FYI

Wonder where your recyclables go? Call (818) 238-3900 to register for an Oct. 9 tour of the Burbank Recycle Center.

JOE PIASECKI is an Annenberg Fellow with USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a contributing editor for the Pasadena Weekly. He can be reached at piasecki@usc.edu.

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