Plastics under fire

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Feb. 16, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Assemblymember Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank) introduced AB 258 to eradicate plastic debris from the environment by targeting waterway and ocean contamination. 

The bill requires the California Coastal Commission to convene a multi-agency task force consisting of department representatives from: Fish and Game, Conservation, Water Resources Control Board, Integrated Waste Management Board, Boating and Waterways, Coastal Conservancy, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and Coastal Commission.  This task force would be charged with submitting a semiannual report to the Ocean Protection Council summarizing the progress made by public agencies and organizations in addressing marine debris, and to suggest actions to improve the State’s efforts.  The task force would also seek funding from public and non-governmental organizations to support actions to reduce the introduction of debris into the marine environment.

The bill would further require the State Water Resources Board and the Regional Boards, by January 1, 2009, to implement a program:

    • To control discharges of preproduction plastics from point and non-point sources (including waste discharge).
    • To require monitoring and reporting for all facilities handling preproduction plastics.
    • To require implementation of best management practices for the control of discharges of preproduction plastic by plastic manufacturing, handling, and transporting facilities.
Of course, a fee schedule would need to be established sufficient to pay for the costs of implementing the program.

However, on February 8th, the Ocean Protection Council adopted 10 resolutions presented by the Santa Monica environmental group, Heal the Bay.  State workers were given until December to prepare a plan to phase-out the most toxic and damaging types of plastic packaging by 2015.  In addition to curtailing the use of styrofoam cups and other items, the resolutions called for targeting "plastics that can leak chemicals, such as cancer-causing vinyl chloride and Bisphenol-A", which the resolutions claim are "linked to prostate cancer in humans and reproductive problems in wildlife."  (This is a claim that is strongly disputed by industry advocates.)

Lt. Governor John Garamendi, a member of the council, led the charge to amend the less ambitious staff-prepared plan and instructed staff to find money to deploy agents to prosecute plastic manufacturers that allow plastic pellets to spill off industrial lots. 


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