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Voters in California have a rare chance Nov. 8 to make sure there are more healthy fish in the ocean than destructive plastic. Californians can ban single-use plastic bags statewide, once and for all and keep the charge for paper bags with the grocers, who are obligated to supply the bags.

Propositions 67 and 65 on the Nov. 8 general election ballot were initiated by the plastics industry and can be confusing. Not knowing the difference can be disastrous.

Proposition 67 asks voters if they want to ban the bags statewide.The prohibition would have become the law two years ago (SB 270), but the plastics industry appealed it via referendum. As a result, it did not go into effect across the state. This time the question is being put to the voters Nov. 8 for an up-or-down vote.

Proposition 65 is related. If it passes, grocers will be denied reimbursement for the paper bags they are required to purchase and supply to customers. “Prop 65 really is a cynical ploy brought about by the plastics industry to either confuse voters, frustrated grocers or divide the grocer’s and the environmental community on this,” said Roger Kube, former chair of the Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego Chapter in San Diego City Beat.

Supporters of Proposition 65 say the bag charges will go for environmental purposes. However, environmental groups, such as Sierra Club California and The Nature Conservancy, oppose it, according to Ballotpedia, a non-partisan online political encyclopedia.

No media editorials supporting Proposition 65 were found by Ballotpedia and more than 20 publications opposed it, including the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register and the San Francisco Chronicle.

The League of Women Voters of California called it a “disingenuous initiative.”

According to Ballotpedia, since 2014, the American Progressive Bag Alliance and plastics manufacturers have worked on placing these two propositions before voters. They raised $6.1 million to do this. $5 million of it was spent to collect signatures to put the propositions before voters—or almost $6 per signature. Think of what $6.1 million could have done for the environment.

The mostly out-of-state plastics lobbyists funding the proposition are clearly out of touch with California voters. Some 151 jurisdictions already ban plastics bags, a variety of sources state. Nearly 60% of California voters support the plastic-bag ban.

Voters know what happens to plastic bags. They become plastic pollution. It ends up in the environment. Fish become tangled in it and they fill their stomachs with it instead of food. Plastic is made from petroleum and its chemicals are toxic.


“If nothing is done, researchers predict that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050,” warned the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website.

Various scenarios will take place if one proposition passes and the other doesn’t, according to Ballotpedia.

Proposition 67 reaffirms the community’s desire for a plastic-bag ban. With Proposition 67, the ten-cent bag fee remains with the grocers to compensate them for the cost of paper bags and recyclable plastic bags.

It’s pretty straightforward. Enact the plastic-bag ban by voting Yes on 67. Defeat the attempt to steal the bag charge from grocers by voting No on 65.

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