Texas Supreme Court Issues Ruling: strikes down the Laredo plastic bag ordinance; fight is not over; Laredo to unveil a new awareness campaign for public and retailers
The Texas Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday morning, upholding the decision of the Fourth Court of Appeals in favor of the Laredo downtown merchants to kill the plastic bag ordinance for Laredo and the rest of the state of Texas.
“Pecos Bill just show down Mother Nature in broad daylight,” said Tricia Cortez, executive director of the Rio Grande International Study Center, a Laredo-based nonprofit that worked on a 10-year campaign to get the Laredo plastic bag ordinance passed.
"This ruling threatens to roll back years of progress and beautification that have already taken place,” Cortez said. "We will continue to fight and we won’t give up."
RGISC and the City of Laredo will unroll a public awareness campaign asking the public and local retailers to stay the course, and to keep making the right changes for Mother Earth.
A joint City-RGISC press conference is scheduled for Saturday, June 23 at 10 am @ the El Portal conference room, 1600 Water Street, 78040.
Cortez noted that this is a hollow victory for the Laredo downtown merchants, since the leader of the group, Les Norton, doesn't even live in Laredo.
"It's amazing that a tiny group of well-funded downtown merchants, headed by someone who doesn't even live in Laredo, could halt progress and beautification efforts for the rest of the 250,000 people who live in this community," she said.
“We ask the people of Laredo and our local retailers to join us in this movement,” Cortez said. “Too much is at stake. The powers that be in Texas may still bow down to big corporate money but the tide will turn in this state. We will be part of that beautiful movement, and we ask the people of Texas and retailers to continue phasing out these unnecessary plastic bags. Plastic bags are real. They clog up the whole environment. This is a big loss for Texas.”
When earlier attempts failed in 2008 due to lobbyists hired by the Laredo downtown merchants, Brownsville took inspiration from Laredo’s efforts and enacted their own ordinance, becoming the first city in Texas to do so. The cities of Austin, South Padre Island, Freer, and Fort Stockton among others soon followed in their footsteps.