Texas Attorney General Warns Cities That Their Plastic Bans Are Illegal

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

The Texas attorney general sent letters to 11 cities across the state, informing them that their plastic bag bans are in violation of the law following a court ruling.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday sent letters to 11 different cities warning them that their various plastic bag bans are illegal. The state’s highest ranking attorney cited the recent Texas Supreme Court ruling in June that found the city of Laredo’s plastic ban violated the law, effectively ending municipality bag bans across the state.

“The Texas Supreme Court declared that banning single-use plastic bags is illegal. Municipalities ignoring this law are unlawfully passing their duty to manage solid waste on to their residents and retailers in violation of settled Texas law,” Paxton said in a statement Monday. “A dislike of state law is no justification for a municipality to violate it.”

The state supreme court struck down Laredo’s plastic bag ban in a unanimous ruling in City of Laredo v. Laredo Merchants Association. The court found that state law on solid waste disposal trumps any local ordinance. The June 22 decision won praise from trade groups and condemnation from environmentalists. The issue dates back to March 2015, when the Laredo Merchants Association sued the city’s single-use bag ban, arguing it conflicted with state law. (RELATED: Study: Plastic Packaging Bans Hurt The Environment More Than They Help)

The ruling affects every municipality in the state, and the Texas attorney general on Monday warned all cities still practicing bag bans to stop.

Paxton issued letters to the cities of Austin, Laguna Vista, Corpus Christi, South Padre Island, Sunset Valley, Fort Stockton, Brownsville, Freer, Eagle Pass, Port Aransas and Kermit to make them aware of the recent ruling and their authority concerning waste management policies.

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