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Sen. Lowenthal Moves Styrofoam Food Container Ban/Recycling Bill To Inactive File; Ass'y Dems Doom Passage This Year; Measure Could Be Revived Next Year
(Sept. 8, 2011) -- As first flashed on LBReport.com's front page on Thurs. afternoon (Sept. 8), state Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-Paramount) has moved to the Assembly "inactive file" SB 568, a bill he authored that would phase out polystyrene ("styrofoam") food containers (that visibly litter Long Beach and other CA coastal areas, especially following rainstorms) and encourage their recycling.
The action means SB 568 won't come an Assembly vote this year but could be taken up in 2012. The measure narrowly passed the state Senate in June and faced a Sept. 9 deadline for enactment this year...with a showdown Assembly vote meaning passage or defeat.
Sen. Lowenthal's Chief of Staff, John Casey, told LBReport.com that Sen. Lowenthal placed the measure on the inactive file "because the Assembly votes just aren't there right now." He added, "Opposition has been fierce, but we believe we can can prevail and get the votes when members learn the facts about the bill."
In June, the Long Beach City Council went on record 8-0 (with Councilman Gary DeLong absent) to support the bill. In late May, the President/CEO of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter opposing the bill, echoing oppositon by the CA Chamber of Commerce. (The CA Chamber gave Sen. Lowenthal's bill its worst designation: a "job killer.")
Since Democrats hold a majority in the Assembly, SB 568 was effectively blocked by a number of Democrat Assemblymembers who declined to support it. Most Repubs opposed the bill, but it won the support of two Republicans in the state Senate who represent coastal areas (Huntington Beach and Central CA) impacted by styrofoam pollution,
SB 568 would prohibit food vendors (effective Jan. 1, 2016) from dispensing prepared food in polystyrene (commonly called styrofoam) food containers, while letting city or county allow food vendors to dispense prepared food in such containers "if there is a reasonable likelihood that annually at least 60 percent of the polystyrene foam food containers will be recycled."
In June, SB 568 passed the state Senate in a close vote but with bipartisan support...including support from two Republican state Senators who represent coastal areas impacted by styrofoam: Sen. Tom Harman (R, Huntington Beach) and Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R., San Luis Opispo).
After the state Senate passed Sen. Lowenthal's bill, the Long Beach City Council went on record 8-0 (with Councilman Gary DeLong absent) to support it.
In May, the President/CEO of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter opposing the bill, echoing oppositon by the CA Chamber of Commerce, whose members are from inland as well as coastal areas, which gave Sen. Lowenthal's bill its worst designation: a "job killer."
Sen. Lowenthal has said the opposite is true, and cited new firms in California that manufacture alternatives to sytrofoam containers. He also notes that his bill, whose effective date is 2016, includes a proviso allowing styrofoam containers if there's a recycling program in place with a reasonable likelihood that annually "at least 60 percent of the polystyrene foam food containers will be recycled."
To view the full bill text as amended July 12 (doesn't include amendments Sen. Lowenthal has previously indicated he's willing to take), click here.
Additional supporters/opponents (listed in June Assembly Committee legislative anlaysis) below:
Support California Coastkeeper Alliance California League of Conservation Voters Californians Against Waste City of Belmont City of Encinitas City of Long Beach City of Manhattan Beach City of Milbrea City of Palo Alto City of Pasadena City and County of San Francisco City of Santa Monica City of Sonoma Environment California Environmental Defense Fund GreenTown Los Altos Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Mar Vista Community Council Natural Resources Defense Council Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Sierra Club California Solid Waste Association of North America South Robertson Neighborhood Council West Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Opposition Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers America Chemistry Council Black Business and Professional Association Brawley Chamber of Commerce California Chamber of Commerce California Film Extruders & Converters Association California Forestry Association California Manufacturers & Technology Association California Restaurant Association Chambers Alliance of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties Dart Container Corporation El Centro Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce Foodservice Packaging Institute Fullerton Chamber of Commerce Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Greater Corona Valley Chamber of Commerce Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce Industrial Environmental Association Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce Lemoore Chamber of Commerce Long Beach Chamber of Commerce Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce Murrieta Chamber of Commerce National Federation of Independent Business Natural Environmental Protection Company Pactiv Corporation Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce Regional Black Chamber, San Fernando Valley Seawright Custom Precast, Inc. Society of the Plastics Industry South Bay Association of Chambers of Commerce Southwest California Legislative Council Stockton Chamber of Commerce Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce The Dardanelle Group Valley Industry and Commerce Association Wildomar Chamber of Commerce 72 Individuals
To view a June Assembly Committee legislative analysis, click here.
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