’07 brings new environmental laws | SierraSun.com

’07 brings new environmental laws

Sun News Service

A host of new state environmental laws will take effect this year, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.

California residents will see changes as a result of the laws, from in-store plastic bag recycling programs to larger fines against illegal dumping on private property.

– AB 2449 ” Recycling plastic carryout bags: Plastic shopping bags represent a disproportionately large share of litter and marine debris. It is estimated that less than 5 percent of plastic bags disposed of are being collected for recycling. Beginning July 1, 2007, this bill will require store operators to establish a recycling program that provides an opportunity for a customer to return a clean plastic carryout bag to the store. A convenient at-store recycling program will increase recycling and reduce the number of plastic bags in the waste stream and in the state’s waterways.

– AB 2600 ” HOV lanes: This bill extends the sunset date from Jan. 1, 2008, to Jan. 1, 2011 for the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicles to use carpool or high occupancy vehicle lanes without meeting the minimum occupancy requirement and authorizes an additional 10,000 clean air decals to be issued for hybrid electric vehicles. This bill is intended to encourage California motorists to purchase hybrids, which use some of the same advanced technology components as battery and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, offering a bridge to a zero emissions future.

– AB 2289 ” Plastic bulk merchandise containers: Increasingly, plastic crates are being stolen and taken to recyclers for money. This legislation will require businesses that recycle, shred or destroy plastic bulk merchandise containers, prior to purchasing five or more containers, to obtain proof of ownership from the seller and verify his or her identity.

– AB 2253 ” Vehicle illegal dumping: This bill authorizes a court to impound, in specific instances, a motor vehicle used in illegal dumping of waste when the registered owner has multiple convictions for misdemeanor illegal dumping of waste matter. The bill also eliminates the need for county and city governments to develop and adopt ordinances on an individual basis.

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– AB 1992 ” Solid waste dumping: This bill expands the prohibition against illegal dumping to include private property by increasing the minimum penalty from $100 to $250 and increases second and third offenses to $1,500 and $3,000, respectively.

For more information, visit the California Legislature’s Web site at http://www.leginfo.ca. gov

” Sun News Service