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Huntington finalizes repeal of city's plastic bag ban

In about four weeks, shoppers in Huntington Beach will again be able to choose plastic bags and not have to pay 10 cents if they use paper.

The City Council voted 6-1 on Monday, with Mayor Jill Hardy dissenting, to finalize its repeal of the city's ban on plastic bags as well as the 10-cent paper bag fee. The council made an identical vote April 20 on the measure's first reading.

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Unless the decision is challenged by a member of the public, the law will be lifted June 3.

The ban, which went into effect in November 2013, was aimed at reducing litter citywide, especially on the beach. However, many residents thought the ordinance was government overreach.

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The repeal process started in January when Councilman Mike Posey proposed it in light of a statewide effort backed by about 800,000 residents to put a referendum on the state's plastic bag ban on the November 2016 ballot.

In March, Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) introduced two bills intended to repeal the state's 10-cent paper bag fee as well as the ban on plastic bags.

Harper, a former Huntington Beach mayor, represents the 74th Assembly District, which includes Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Beach and Laguna Woods.

Jessica Budica, a member of the Surfrider Foundation, a San Clemente-based environmental group, was critical of the City Council, which at Monday night's meeting commended a local company for its recycling efforts before voting to lift the plastic bag ban.

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"Which do you want to be? Do you want to be sustainable or not?" Budica said during public comments. "We are taking a step backward in forward thinking. I understand that change is difficult for some people on this council, but the world is changing."

— Anthony Clark Carpio

Twitter: @acocarpio

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