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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

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(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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