Judge’s Ruling Halts Plastic Bag Ban in Oakland

An ordinance that would ban the use of plastic bags in the city is on hold after a Superior Court judge issued a tentative ruling that the city did not conduct a full review of how the ban would affect the environment.

OAKLAND, Calif. — An ordinance that would ban the use of plastic bags in the city here is on hold after a Superior Court judge issued a tentative ruling that the city did not conduct a full review of how the ban would affect the environment. The law, prohibiting the use of plastic bags by retailers with annual revenues of more than $1 million, was passed last July and scheduled to take effect in mid-January. However, a lawsuit filed by a group representing plastic bag manufacturers, recyclers and some individuals led to the ruling, which said it is not clear whether paper bags — the most likely substitute for plastic bags — would be more or less environmentally friendly. The city said it will be up to the City Council here to contest the judge’s ruling or conduct a full environmental study. The ruling does not affect the ban on plastic bags in San Francisco that took effect in November.

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