The City of Arcata, California, USA is developing a plastic bag ban ordinance. During the regular meeting of the City Council on November 17th, Council affirmed the concept of a plastic bag ban ordinance. The city by the bay, Arcata is located in Humboldt County on the northern portion of Humboldt Bay, known as Arcata Bay.
City Attorney Nancy Diamond gave the Council an update on case law in reference to plastic bag bans throughout the state. Her update included what occurred in recent ban legislation by other municipalities and the threat of litigation by the American Chemical Council.
A motion was made by Council Member Shane Brinton, seconded by another Council Member, and approved by the Council. The motion affirmed the concept of a plastic bag ban ordinance and directed staff to continue to work on an ordinance and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Mark Andre, Environmental Services Director for Arcata, said the Master Environmental Assessment may help prepare an EIR and that the EIR could possibly be done in-house.
Director Andre spoke of his department's environmental efforts. He said that he and his staff had been calling on businesses, restaurants in particular, asking them to stop using single-use polystyrene containers (styrofoam) and plastic water bottles. Deputy Director, Karen Diemer, said that staff had brainstormed on several options to be considered in creating a plastic bag ordinance. She stated that the EIR would determine the main options and directions that staff would take.
The final decision by Council was that the City of Arcata would work with Humboldt County Waste Management Authority in completing an EIR for the region. However, if Humboldt County failed to take positive action, then the City of Arcata would proceed on its own to craft and adopt a plastic bag ban ordinance.
The City of Arcata has, for years, been aggressive and progressive in its environmental stance. Ii has also been a city fiercely determined to protect its community and environment. In 2002, the city enacted an ordinance to limit the number of chain restaurants in the city.