• January 25, 2022
 Texas Supreme Court to Settle Dispute Over Plastic Bag Ban

Texas Supreme Court to Settle Dispute Over Plastic Bag Ban

AUSTIN – A decades-old dispute between Texas cities and state officials over plastic grocery bags has finally made its way to the state Supreme Court.

At least 10 Texas cities, including Austin, Brownsville and Lardeo, have passed ordinances outlawing single-use plastic bags in grocery and retail stores. Merchants and manufacturers say cities can’t do that, citing the 1993 Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act. But the cities argue it’s a local issue.

Robin Schneider, executive director of Texas Campaign for the Environment, said there’s a lot riding on the court’s decision.

“The issue is whether this ’93 law that says local governments can’t regulate containers or packaging for solid waste management purposes, whether that encompasses these laws or not,” Schneider said.

Environmental groups have long sought to ban thin, plastic bags as a major source of pollution, a danger to fish and animals, and a hazard in the devices that sort recycling materials. Manufacturers say the bags generate almost $70 billion in annual revenue and employ 75,000 Texans. They contend that a bag ban is an illegal restraint of trade.

The Texas high court could rule in July.

Schneider said the case, pitting the city of Laredo against the Laredo Merchants Association, brought together an unusual coalition supporting the city ordinances.

“For the first time, many anglers and recycling and composting businesses, and other kinds of folks came together in a public way, to tell the Supreme Court that these bag ordinances should stand,” she said.

Since most of the court justices live in Austin, she noted they are likely familiar with the benefits of removing bags from the environment.

“I’m sure many of these justices, if they don’t live here full-time, they spend a good amount of time here. They’ve seen a bag ordinance in action,” Schneider said. “They, I’m sure, can tell that there’s a lot less single-use bags in the environment than there used to be.”

In its past two sessions, the Texas Legislature has considered bills that would have blocked cities from banning plastic bag use, but the measures didn’t pass.

Author: Mark Richardson – Texas News Service

Texas News Service

Texas News Service is an arm of the Public News Service that provides stories that examine the effects of policy on areas that receive too little coverage, lifting up often marginalized voices and making greater journalistic breadth on any platform.

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1 Comment

  • Environmental Hypocrites who promote Recycling
    I continue to see Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE) expressing their concerned about pollution in Houston. In this case “plastic bags.”

    At the same time TCE promotes highly contaminated sewage sludge in compost. This would be industrial, medical, storm and household sewage sludge with potentially 80,000 untested and unregulated chemicals in it not even to go down the road of resilient pathogens and parasites (ringworms etc.) found in biosolids. The most contaminated substance on this planet. This puts dangerous untested unregulated chemicals in the backyards and gardens of unsuspecting Texan’s in the name of recycling.
    To me this is hypocritical and pretty ignorant. Before you can help others with pollution issues you must first make sure your house in in order.

    Let me quote Dobbs of the TCE: “Biosolids are also sometimes called sewage sludge. After human wastes and other materials are flushed down all our drains, they are treated and the water is removed leaving the biosolids. TCE has become active in the last year or two in fighting proposals to dump this sludge onto agricultural land as fertilizer. Instead we (Texas Campaign for the Environment) SUPPORT COMPOSTING THIS MATERIAL.” Say What!

    With that in mind read this:
    **US EPA 40 CFR 261.30(d) and 261.33 (4): (Every US industry connected to a sewer can discharge any amount of hazardous and acute hazardous waste into sewage treatment plants.) There are over 80,000 chemicals in commerce and growing even today. It ends up in biosolids which is broadcasted over forest, farms and even bags taken to the consumer’s home and used in their garden
    **US EPA Office Inspector General (OIG) Report # 14-P-0363 in 09/2014 / Google and read it for yourself. To sum up, industrial pre-treatment is not working and has never worked and nothing has been done about it. It ends up in biosolids and sewage plant effluent. “The priority pollutants list has not been updated since 1981”
    **So when you hear anyone from the multi-billion dollar sewage industry or anyone with monetary ties to any part of the sewage industry say the chemicals in biosolids are minimal and inconsequential or that they support composting with biosolids, ask them for any test showing the degree of hazard and concentrations of 80,000 chemicals that are found in biosolids or a composted biosolids like Milorganite from Milwaukee.
    **Chemicals that are persistent in the environment, bio-accumulate in people and/or wildlife, and are toxic are called PBTs and neurotoxins such as microcystin (a hemotoxin), phycotoxins, domoic acid, brevetoxin. Because of these features, as long as they remain in commerce and may therefore be released into the environment, they will threaten the health of humans, wildlife including aquatic life.
    Cancer, Chronic Diseases and Birth Defect

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