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By Jim Shilander
San Clemente’s Coastal Advisory Commission appears ready to make the case again for a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags to the City Council.
Potential city bans of single-use bags have gone forward twice in recent years. Assistant city engineer Tom Bonigut said cities had been much more successful in the last few years in defending such bans in court, and the steps taken by a number of those cities could easily be replicated in San Clemente.
Commission members who had been involved with previous attempts at a ban indicated they would be willing to make the case to the city council again. Member Peter Salgado indicated a willingness to prepare some of the research to support a ban.
Chairman Bill Hart said it was important that the commission, as stewards of the area’s beaches and watersheds, be prepared to make to confidently make the case for a ban.
“We should be able to tell them, in simple terms, why they need to do it,” Hart said. The last time such a ban was put forward, Hart said, the Commission seemed to think the issue was “self-evident,” while those in opposition made a strong emotional case that made council members question the need for a ban.
“We ought to be setting an example in how to manage the huge amount of trash that ends up in the Pacific,” Hart said.
Committee member Susan Ambrose suggested it might be a good idea to partner with other organizations in town that might be interested in a ban.
Bonigut indicated that a pitch for the ban could be made when the council sets its priority list for the year in February. The Advisory Commission will discuss the issue further at their next meeting in January.