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Supreme Court of California
July 14, 2011, Filed
[**1008] [***713] CORRIGAN, J.—Here we consider two questions: (1) What are the standing requirements for a corporate entity to challenge a determination on the preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR)? (2) Was the City of Manhattan Beach required to prepare an EIR on the effects of an ordinance banning the use of plastic bags by local businesses?
Plaintiff, a coalition of plastic bag manufacturers and distributors, claims standing to maintain a citizen suit to vindicate the public interest in environmental quality. The trial court and the Court of Appeal granted plaintiff standing on that basis. Both courts rejected the city's argument that plaintiff had failed to make the enhanced showing required by Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc. v. County of Alameda (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 1223, 1238 [94 Cal. Rptr. 2d 740] (Waste Management) for corporate entities to bring a citizen suit. We agree that plaintiff would qualify for public interest standing here, and disapprove Waste Management's holding that corporations are subject to heightened scrutiny when they file citizen suits. We also conclude that plaintiff, which represents businesses directly [****3] affected by the Manhattan Beach ordinance, has standing in its own right to challenge the city's analysis of environmental impacts.
On the merits, the courts below ruled that the city had to prepare an EIR before implementing a ban on plastic bags. We disagree. Substantial evidence and common sense support the city's determination that its ordinance would have no significant environmental effect. Therefore, a negative declaration was sufficient to comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA; Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.). 2 Accordingly, we reverse the Court of Appeal's judgment.
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52 Cal. 4th 155 *; 254 P.3d 1005 **; 127 Cal. Rptr. 3d 710 ***; 2011 Cal. LEXIS 6866 ****; 41 ELR 20238
SAVE THE PLASTIC BAG COALITION, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. CITY OF MANHATTAN BEACH, Defendant and Appellant.
Subsequent History: Reported at Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City of Manhattan Beach, 2011 Cal. LEXIS 7456 (Cal., July 14, 2011)
Prior History: [****1] Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. BS116362, David P. Yaffe, Judge. Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Five, No. B215788.
Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City of Manhattan Beach, 181 Cal. App. 4th 521, 105 Cal. Rptr. 3d 41, 2010 Cal. App. LEXIS 95 (Cal. App. 2d Dist., 2010)
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Civil Procedure, Writs, Common Law Writs, Mandamus, Justiciability, Standing, Personal Stake, Business & Corporate Law, Corporate Existence, Powers & Purpose, Powers, Ability to Engage in Litigation, General Overview, Environmental Law, Natural Resources & Public Lands, National Environmental Policy Act, Business & Corporate Compliance, Environmental Law, Assessment & Information Access, Environmental Impact Statements, Environmental Assessments, Administrative Proceedings & Litigation, Judicial Review