The court said Thursday a full-scale environmental review may not always be required for local authorities to prohibit stores from providing plastic bags to their customers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Environmentalists hailed the decision as a victory for environmental protection, but an attorney for plastic bag manufacturers said the bag makers would continue to sue cities imposing bans without environmental impact reports.
"We will continue to demand EIRs," Stephen L. Joseph, an attorney for the industry, said.
In overturning two lower court decisions, the court upheld a 2008 plastic bag ban by Manhattan Beach, which has since been joined by almost a dozen other communities, including Los Angeles County, in prohibiting plastic bags.
"This is a great day for the Pacific Ocean," said Dan Jacobson of Environment California, an environmental protection group. "Cities and counties can now move forward with plans to protect our environment -- and to safeguard the significant portion of our economy that depends on a healthy ocean and beaches."