Environmentalists in California were shocked this week when lawmakers in the nation's most populous state unexpectedly killed a slew of green bills that many had hoped would serve as a springboard to nationwide action.
An aggressive push by industry lobbyists, as well as the absence of key progressive lawmakers during the votes, allowed opponents to thwart the measures.
A proposed ban on single-use plastic grocery bags throughout the Golden State went down in the state senate, folding to opposition from grocery and plastics industry groups. Opponents spent almost $250,000 on lobbying and television ads that argued the bag ban was a job killer, and unfair to low-income families during tough economic times. Bag ban proponents have vowed to take their cause to city and county governments, hoping that a patchwork of local measures can stem some of the plastic bag pollution from the state.
Lawmakers also shot down a proposal to reduce the amount of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in products for children and infants. At the moment, BPA is widely used in baby bottles and sippy cups. Studies have linked the chemical to health and developmental problems.
And lawmakers failed to reach a deal on a measure that would require one-third of California's power to come from renewable sources, such as solar, wind or geothermal energy. Hope remains for the measure, which could be enacted through a special legislative session which needs to be called to pass California's still nonexistent state budget.