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Newport kills plastic bag ban proposal

April 19, 2011

While Newport Beach recently banned gas-powered leaf blowers and may ban smoking in public parks, at least one environmental reform didn't go far with the City Council.

A proposed prohibition on retail plastic bags, which was passed in Long Beach and some other California cities, was dead on arrival when floated at a recent City Council study session.

"This one would be a doozy, and we would potentially expose the city to litigation," said Councilwoman Leslie Daigle.

None of the council members spoke in favor of a ban, including Nancy Gardner. She has advocated for environmental regulations in the past.

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"I do recycle my grocery bags," added Mayor Mike Henn, "in conjunction with walking the dog, virtually every day."

Environmentalists say fewer plastic grocery bags would mean less plastic in the sea, where animals can get tangled in it or confuse it for food.

Also, they say reducing the nation's dependence on single-use plastic containers, which are petroleum-based, would translate to less reliance on oil.

Nancy Skinner, a local advocate, said she would like to see the city consider it now or in the future, in order to protect sea life.

—Mike Reicher

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