LB Councilwoman / State Senate Candidate Gonzalez, Facing Social Network Fire For $1.1+ Million Spent By Major Oil Companies In Independent Campaign To Elect Her To Sac'to, Seeks LB Council Vote Tonight To Support Bills To Phase Out Single-Use Plastics By 2030

Remains mum on Sac'to legislation seeking CA oil severance tax

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(April 9, 2019, 5:32 a.m.) -- LB Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, whose state Senate campaign has sought to fend off social network criticism over $1.1+ million spent to send her to Sacramento in an independently run campaign by a petroleum-industry-backed PAC, has agendized an April 9 LB City Council item to support SB 54 (Allen)/AB 1080 (Gonzalez) regarding Sac'to efforts to phase out sale/distribution of single-use plastics in California by 2030.

The LB City Clerk's office indicates Councilwoman Gonzalez submitted her request to agendize the item on April 1. That would put it less than a week after Gonzalez was forced into a June 4 runoff for the state Senate seat by Cudahy Councilman Jack Guerrero. Gonzalez request for the agenda item came more than three months after SB 54 was introduced (December 11, 2018) and over a month after AB 1080 (a substantially similar bill) was introduced (Feb. 21) (Her agendizing memo doesn't mention SB 54's December 2018 originating date, only AB 1080's echoed introduction in February 2019.)

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Councilwoman Gonzalez's agenda item is co-agendized by Councilmembers Jeannine Pearce, Suzie Price and Roberto Uranga (all of whom have endorsed Gonzalez's state Senate candidacy, along with LB Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilmembers Rex Richardson and Stacy Mungo; Vice Mayor Andrews, not a Gonzalez-campaign listed endorser, has contributed a sum to her campaign.)

At this point, both bills have already cleared their respective bodies' policy Committee hearings and after upcoming non-policy Appropriations committee hearings will proceed to floor votes; if passed, they'll repeat the process in their opposite legislative chambers.

Gonzalez has declined to publicly state her position, pro or con, on SB 246. that proposes to enact a CA oil severance tax ( coverage here) that could generate millions of dollars for the state of CA but, like previous efforts to enact an oil severance tax here, is opposed by oil industry interests. Her state Senate campaign has responded to social network criticism of the oil industry spending by citing her previous Council vote to ban Styrofoam materials locally.



Some locally still fume over Gonzalez's August 2014 vote (with a unanimous Council and backed by LB Mayor Garcia) that overruled appeals by environmental groups (including NRDC) and approved a Port of LB-desired long-term contract -- using roughly twenty year old environmental impact data without updated data and new environmental review -- that now enables the Oxbow Corporation to continue shipping petroleum coke through Pier G at the Port of Long Beach. (Oxbow's website states: "This dock consists of six enclosed and environmentally sensitive petroleum coke and coal storage facilities [with] capacity of 733,000 tons and an annual throughput of over 7,000,000 tons [which] support the receipt, storage and vessel loading of coal and petroleum coke sold for export.")



It's not unusual for the LB City Council to take positions on Sacramento legislation. In Feb. 2017, in an action led by Councilwoman Gonzalez, the Council voted to support the Sac'to "sanctuary state" bills SB 54 and SB 31 (7-0 vote, Andrews and Mungo both in the Council Chamber earlier, were absent on the vote with Mungo resurfacing after the vote.)

Councilwoman Gonzalez also joined a unanimous Council in voting in 2018 to oppose SB 827, a bill by state Senator Scott Wiener (D, SF) that sought to overrule local zoning for housing within specified distances of rail/bus routes. Senator Wiener has since endorsed Councilwoman Gonzalez's state Senate candidacy...and no LB Councilmember(s) or the Mayor have agendized an item to oppose Sen. Wiener's successor bill SB 50 that would go beyond SB 827 by also overruling local zoning for housing in "jobs rich" areas.



On their merits, the plastic-impacting SB 54 and AB 1080 would both require the CA Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the Ocean Protection Council (OPC), to adopt regulations to source reduce and recycle at least 75% of single-use packaging and products sold or distributed in California by 2030, and requires CalRecycle to develop a scoping plan to meet those recycling requirements.

A state Senate committee legislative analysis stated in pertinent part:

Plastic pollution. Plastics are estimated to comprise 60-80% of all marine debris and 90% of all floating debris. According to the California Coastal Commission (Commission), the primary source of marine debris is urban runoff (i.e., litter). By 2050, by weight there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean if we keep producing (and failing to properly manage) plastics at predicted rates, according to The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics, a January 2016 report by the World Economic Forum. Due to the interplay of ocean currents, marine debris preferentially accumulates in certain areas throughout the ocean. According to Eriksen et al. (2014), 24 expeditions from 2007-2013 estimated that there are approximately 96,400 metric tons of floating plastic in the Northern Pacific Ocean. The North Pacific Central Gyre is the ultimate destination for much of the marine debris originating from the California coast. A study by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation found an average of more than 300,000 plastic pieces per square mile of the Gyre and that the mass of plastic was six times greater than zooplankton floating on the water’s surface.

Most plastic marine debris exists as small plastic particles due to excessive UV radiation exposure and subsequent photo-degradation. These plastic pieces are confused with small fish, plankton, or krill and ingested by birds and marine animals. Over 600 marine animal species have been negatively affected by ingesting plastic worldwide. Last year, scientists at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University found that corals are also ingesting small plastic particles, which remain in their small stomach cavities and impede their ability to consume and digest normal food.

In addition to the physical impacts of plastic pollution, hydrophobic chemicals present in the ocean in trace amounts (e.g., from contaminated runoff and oil and chemical spills) have an affinity for, and can bind to, plastic particles where they enter and accumulate in the food chain.

...Economic impacts to California. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program economic study published in 2014 examined the costs of marine debris to Californians. The study focused on Orange County, and found that residents lose millions of dollars each year avoiding littered, local beaches in favor of choosing cleaner beaches that are farther away and more costly to reach. In one scenario, the study found that reducing marine debris by just 25% would save Orange County residents $32 million in June-August; eliminating marine debris entirely would save an estimated $148 million.

A 2013 report produced for the Natural Resources Defense Council by Keir Associates estimates that Californians are shouldering $428 million annually to try to prevent litter from becoming marine debris that damages the environment, tourism, and other economic activities.


1) Purpose of Bill. According to the author, Senate Bill 54 will reduce the amount of waste that burdens taxpayers and local governments, plagues human health, and pollutes our natural environment by decreasing single-use packaging and products sold in California and ensuring the remaining items are effectively composted and recycled.

Roughly two-thirds of all plastic ever produced has been released into the environment and remains there in some form, either in our landfills or polluting our coast and ocean, and our streets, parks, streams, and rivers. These items fragment into smaller particles, known as microplastics, concentrating toxic chemicals and contaminate our food and drinking water sources. Exposure to these plastics and associated toxins has been linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other serious health problems. Additionally, plastic negatively impacts marine ecosystems and wildlife as seabirds, turtles, marine mammals, whales and dolphins die from ingestion or entanglement.

Though the state and communities in California have been focusing efforts on reducing the burden from single-use packaging since the 1980s, taxpayers and local governments still spend over $420 million annually in ongoing efforts to clean up and prevent litter in streets, storm drains, parks and waterways. Existing recycling infrastructure cannot keep pace with the continued exponential growth in single use waste. Less than 9 percent of plastic is recycled, and that number is dropping since the implementation of China’s National Sword policy, which severely restricts the amount of foreign waste China accepts. The cost of recycling exceeds the scrap value of the plastic material so the markets for plastic packaging that were previously considered recyclable have been lost. Experts agree that upstream reduction of [the] single use waste upstream is the most effective and least expensive way to protect human, wildlife, and environmental health. SB 54 would be an important step by significantly reducing California’s reliance on single-use packaging and products.

The effect of National Sword on California recycling. The shift in policy of the international markets have resulted in a major disruption in recycling commodities markets, a sign that California can no longer be primarily reliant on exports to manage its recyclable materials. As a result of these policies, more material is being stockpiled at solid waste facilities and recycling centers or disposed of in landfills. Because California has historically relied on being able to export a significant percentage of these materials, the state now has to figure out a new plan to manage these materials. Recycling requires markets to create new products for this material to close the loop. The new policies of other jurisdictions provide California with the opportunity to reduce waste, build infrastructure for the manufacture of recycled materials, and build domestic markets to successfully and responsibly manage its own recyclable materials.

3) A comprehensive plan. In recent years, the Legislature has addressed single-use plastic products, and its resulting waste, in piecemeal fashion. While this has proven successful in the past, with the decrease in the use of single-use plastic carryout bags and the use of straws in restaurants, SB 54 instead chooses a more holistic approach. The bill directs CalRecycle to examine single-use packaging and products across-the-board and develop an approach that would not only aid the state in meeting its 75 percent diversion goal but also result in the reduction of waste, decrease in pollution, and its associated environmental impacts (like greenhouse gas emissions), creation of domestic markets for recyclable materials (thereby helping to address the National Sword crisis), and support the development of instate recycling infrastructure. The bill provides CalRecycle with a variety of tools to achieve these goals.



350 Silicon Valley
Algalita Marine Research and Education
Alvarado Street Brewery
Audubon California
SB 54 (Allen) Page 9 of 11
Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
California Cannabis Coalition
California Coastal Protection Network
California Coastkeeper Alliance
California Compost Coalition
California Interfaith Power & Light
California League of Conservation Voters
California League of Conservation Voters
California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC)
California ReLeaf
California Resource Recovery Association
California State Association of Counties
California State Parks Foundation
California Teamsters Public Affairs Council
Californians Against Waste
Center for Biological Diversity
Cigarette Butt Pollution Project
Colorado Medical Waste, Inc.
Communications Workers of America District 9, AFL-CIO
Community Environmental Council
Defenders of Wildlife
Environment California
Environmental Defense Center
Environmental Working Group
Friends Committee on Legislation of CA
Full Circle Environmental, Inc.
Green Valley Community Farm
Heal the Bay
Latinos in Action
Long Beach Environmental Alliance
Long Beach Gray Panthers
Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE)
Los Angeles Waterkeeper
National Parks Conservation Association
National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC
Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC)
Natural Resources Council of Maine
No Plastic Oceans
SB 54 (Allen) Page 10 of 11
Pacific Forest Trust
Plastic Pollution Coalition
Recology, Inc.
Refill Madness, LLC
Republic Services
Repurpose, Inc.
Save Our Shores
Seventh Generation Advisors
Shizen and Tataki Restaurants
Sierra Club California
St. Francis Center
Surfrider Foundation
Sustain LA
Sustainable Environmental Management Co.
TDC Environmental, LLC
Teamsters Local Union No. 396
The 5 Gyres Institute
The Center For Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE)
The River Project
The Story of Stuff Project
The Trust for Public Land
The Watershed Project
Tonic Nightlife Group
Tri-City Economic Development Corporation
Wholly H2O
Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation
Zero Waste USA


American Chemistry Council
California Chamber of Commerce
California Grocers Association
Grocery Manufacturers Association
Household and Commercial Products Association
Plastics Industry Association
[Assembly Legislative Analysis listed:
Product Management Alliance ]


Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.

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