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Billionaire political activist Tom Steyer backs upholding the state’s plastic bag ban

Tom Steyer has announced his support for Proposition 67. (AFP/Getty Images)
Tom Steyer has announced his support for Proposition 67. (AFP/Getty Images)

Billionaire Democratic political activist Tom Steyer on Monday announced his support for Proposition 67, a ballot measure that will let voters decide whether to uphold or overturn a 2014 law imposing a statewide ban on plastic bags.

The ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery stores was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, but a trade group opposing the ban was able to qualify a referendum in early 2015, putting the law before voters this November. Voters who choose “yes” will be ratifying that law. 

Steyer is a politically powerful environmentalist and former hedge fund manager who has spent millions to elect Democrats. He joins a slew of environmental groups, like the Surfrider Foundation, that support the ban.

The plastic industry has poured more than $5 million into a political committee called the American Progressive Bag Alliance set to oppose the plastic ban and back another plastic bag-related initiative called Proposition 65. That proposal will redirect fees for paper or reusable bags from retailers to a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board. 

“In an attempt to protect their profits, out-of-state plastic bag companies and chemical corporations have already spent millions to roll back California’s ban on their environmentally destructive products," Steyer said in a statement. "As Californians, we can’t allow these corporations to continue to trash our beaches.”

Read more about the 17 measures on the November statewide ballot.

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