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Goleta Joins Regional Study of Plastic-Bag Ban

City Council approves $8,000 allocation to help pay for environmental impact report

The City of Goleta is the latest jurisdiction to sign on for a joint report examining the environmental impacts of banning single-use plastic bags at local markets.

On a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Goleta City Council approved allotting up to $8,000 to help pay for an environmental impact report, which has proven necessary to avoid lawsuits, although the cost of conducting one has been an issue for many cash-strapped local governments.

The council authorized the city attorney to work with the Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment, or BEACON, to prepare a cooperative agreement for the EIR.

BEACON, a state joint-powers agency of Central Coast cities and counties, has been seeking support from its members to put together a regional EIR, which is expected to cost up to $70,000, and multiple cities have signed on to help.

The Santa Barbara City Council discussed the item exhaustively for nearly three years before coming up with a draft ordinance that would be used as a model for jurisdictions that have agreed to support the EIR.

Roger Aceves was the only council member who opposed the move Tuesday, and told Noozhawk he couldn’t support the recommendation because he feels the draft ordinance from the City of Santa Barbara is poorly written.

The model ordinance would generally apply to stores that are 10,000 square feet or larger, and that sell a line of dry grocery, canned goods or nonfood items and some perishable food, or that have a pharmacy.

Any other retail store that sells a limited line of grocery items, including stores that possess a liquor license, would be included in the ban. Such stores would be prohibited from carrying plastic carryout bags, with the exception of product or produce bags for meat, vegetables, bulk food items, prescriptions and the like.

Instead, the ordinance would require stores to provide reusable bags to customers, either for sale or at no charge. Recyclable bags could be purchased for 10 cents

But Councilwoman Paula Perotte had a different perspective than Aceves.

“Goleta’s always been very proud ... in calling ourselves a green city,” she said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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