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Save the Plastic Bags?: How the California Supreme Court Weakened Environmental Impact Report Requirements in an Attempt to Protect the Environment

By Christina Marshall Santarpio


The California Environmental Quality Act aims to protect the environment by requiring any public agency proposing a project that might have a significant effect on the environment to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This Report would identify and attempt to mitigate environmental damage, as well as make the public aware of the project. In Save the Plastic Bag, the California Supreme Court held that the City of Manhattan Beach did not need to prepare an EIR in passing an ordinance banning plastic bags at point of sale retail stores within the city. The Supreme Court weakened the EIR requirement for future cases by ruling against challengers to the ban. This Comment argues that this lowered standard will allow more questionable projects to avoid the EIR requirement, which will represent lost opportunities to both inform the public about important projects and create new and innovative ways to mitigate future damage

Topics: Environmental Law
Publisher: Digital Commons @ Boston College Law School
Year: 2012
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