SACRAMENTO, CA – Today the California Attorney General’s office released title and summary for a ballot initiative that would direct all money generated or collected under a state law that mandates consumer charges for carryout bags to an environmental fund, rather than grocers. It also provides local governments the option to direct local bag fees to the environmental fund. The proposed “Environmental Fee Protection Act” was filed with the California Attorney General’s office on October 2, 2015 by the America Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) and its supporters in response to Senate Bill 270, which passed in 2014 and bans plastic retail bags and requires grocers to charge – and keep – a minimum 10 cents for each paper and thicker plastic bag provided to customers.

“If SB 270 is really about the environment, then voters should have the choice to direct their bag fees to the environment and their communities,” said Lee Califf, Executive Director of the APBA. “Plastic bag manufacturers and recyclers are against bag bans, fees and taxes because they threaten the livelihood of 30,000 Americans who work in the industry, 2,000 of whom live and work in California, and because these policies have no meaningful impact on the environment. We believe California voters share our concerns and will make their voices heard at the ballot in November 2016 to vote NO on the statewide ban. But, should the ban pass, we want California voters to have the chance to decide where the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars from bag fees should go – either to increase grocers’ profits or to help fund worthy environmental causes.”

With the release of the Environmental Fee Protection Act’s official title and summary, included below, APBA will immediately begin gathering the required number of signatures to qualify this initiative for the November 2016 ballot.

Environmental Fee Protection Act Summary and Title

The Attorney General of California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:

CARRY-OUT BAGS. CHARGES. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Redirects money collected by grocery and certain other retail stores through sale of carry-out bags, whenever any state law bans free distribution of a particular kind of carry-out bag and mandates the sale of any other kind of carry-out bag. Requires stores to deposit bag sale proceeds into a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board to support specified categories of environmental projects. Provides for Board to develop regulations implementing law. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government:  If voters uphold the state’s current carryout bag law, redirected revenues from retailers to the state, potentially in the several tens of millions of dollars annually.

Revenues would be used for grants for certain environmental and natural resources purposes. If voters reject the state’s current carryout bag law, likely minor fiscal effects. (15-0074.)

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