One victory and possibly more for the environment

1. San Jose City Council’s Committee on Economic Development voted 4-0 to recommend the City Council pass a ban on plastic bags from retailers and groceries (with limited exceptions) and a ban on paper bags with less than 50% recycled content. The City Council will also consider a 10 to 25 cent fee on paper bags as well (media reports saying the Committee recommended the fee are wrong, the actual stance is neutral). Seven of the 11 council members have now publicly supported this position. CGF and Save the Bay were the only major environmental groups that spoke at the meeting. This is a good step for stream protection and would put San Jose at the forefront of this issue with a stronger position than even what San Francisco did. More info is at the Mercury News.

I’ll just add that the plastic bag industry may be shooting itself in the foot – they’ve opposed fees on takeout bags, relying on voter resistance to anything that resembles a tax, but that has pushed the reform direction towards an outright ban instead. Maybe next time the bag people will be more reasonable.

2. Second piece of possibly good news is that one of the four applications to expand Gilroy outward has been dropped after they received extensive critiques from CGF and others on their environmental documents. This was Gavilan’s application to expand development of its main campus in Gilroy, completely separate from the other controversy over a proposed new campus in Coyote Valley. I only call it “possibly” good news because Gavilan has asserted they are not legally required to get Gilroy’s permission, so they might have a Plan B in mind, but we’ll be ready to react if Plan B comes around.


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