You know, every time I think that I’ve witnessed a level of dimness that simply can’t be surpassed, something new manages to come out of City Hall and shock me even more. Check out Nancy Nadel staffer Marisa Arrona’s blog about the plastic bag ban:
However, even if our proposed ordinance were considered a “project” under CEQA, an EIR would be wholly speculative because they are asking us to essentially predict consumer behavior. In other words, the plastic bag industry is claiming that if we ban plastic bags, then consumers will use paper bags or compostable plastic bags instead, and that will have an adverse environmental impact. But, says who? Who says that’s what consumers will do?
My God. Is there something in the water at this office? Nancy Nadel told the Trib the same thing:
In Oakland’s case, Nadel said an EIR would be inconclusive anyway, because it would be impossible to predict whether shoppers would use paper bags or reusable bags if plastic were not an option.
I made the same argument as the evil plastic bag manufacturers are making repeatedly on this blog before the ban passed, so obviously I agree that the Council should engage in environmental review before they make stupid decisions like this. And while I consider myself rather clever, I don’t think I’m clever enough to sit here and come up with a good argument why the City shouldn’t have to do an EIR. Maybe if I was being paid I could. Or maybe not. But I like to hope that the City is employing people significantly more clever than me, so you’d assume that someone over there would be able to come up with a good argument in their defense. Instead, this is what we get: we shouldn’t have to study the environmental impacts of our decision because nobody can predict the future. I will give five Linden dollars to the first person who tells me the logical conclusion of that sentiment.