SLO County’s battle over polystyrene could shutter the IWMA

April 14, 2021

IWMA legal counsel Jeffrey Minnery


San Luis Obispo County’s waste agency voted Wednesday to continue the countywide polystyrene ban even though the majority of board members voted to end it, leading several agencies to voice their plans to leave the agency.

Divided along party lines, the San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) voted 7-6 to repeal a countywide ban on polystyrene. However, several of the losing voters demanded a super majority vote of the board, which legal counsel Jeffrey Minnery approved, leading the IWMA to decide the polystyrene ban would continue.

The IWMA is a joint powers authority made up of one representative from each of the county’s seven cities, all five members of the SLO County Board of Supervisors, and one representative for the county’s community services districts.

SLO County supervisors John Peschong, Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton voiced concerns with seven cities having the power to control county residents who may have different political views.

After a caller accused those in favor of the polystyrene ban of acting like slave owners, Supervisor Peschong called the allegation over the top.

During the last two meetings, supervisors Peschong and Arnold noted plans to pull the county out of the IWMA if they continued to force ordinances on communities they were not elected to represent. Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon agreed, saying Paso Robles would likely exit the IWMA with the county.

Currently, five of the seven cities in SLO County — Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo — have existing polystyrene bans. Each of the ordinances prohibit restaurants and stores from providing food in polystyrene containers, while the IWMA ban is far more restrictive and includes prohibiting polystyrene meat trays.

While it appears likely three to four of the IWMA’s 13 member agencies will pull out, it is unclear if the agency will continue or when members plan to exit.

Kevin Rice



Francesca Bolognini

How embarrassing. Why do we even need to argue such a point? Polystyrene is highly undesirable in our environment and should not be manufactured in the first place, especially when there are so many other alternatives. That should be the point. Not whether anyone has the “right” to continue to screw up the environment and who gets to tell them yes or no. Grown ups wouldn’t want to use it in the first place. We should all stop acting like petulant children and just become the stewards of the earth we all need to be.


What’s embarrassing, and a “POINT” that needs to be argued and looked into, is how one power hungry leftist attorney can override the vote of this board and change the procedure. Those board members ARE elected officials by the people of their cities, communities and Supervisor District.. They were representing the people and one UNELECTED sap chose to overturn a true vote.

The petulant, crying, fit throwing six losers have “NO RIGHT” to reverse the will of the people by the elected officials the cities and communities put there to represent them.

As for screwing up the environment, tell me Francesca, what are they doing with the waste from electric car batteries, the deaths of thousands of birds, some that are on the endangered list by wind turbines? Now they are wanting to put wind turbines along our beautiful coastline. The sight pollution, not to mention the death to sea life and pollution of the ocean from these giant killers. Tell me, whos being a good steward of the environment? Are you going to be a hypocrite and defend this environmental destruction?


commonsenseguy, you forgot the many thousands of acres of environmentally sensitive land that would be covered with steel and silicon panels, forever disturbing endangered species, just so we can plug in those toxic electric cars. Polystyrene is the least of anyone’s worries.


Why did you cherrypick mentioning the environmental impact of “electric car batteries” and “wind turbines”? Those are a drop in the bucket compared to the massive negative impact of many other worse offenders,


So how many children does Francesca and all the other woke environmental warriors out there have? If you really want to make the ultimate sacrifice for the better of the environment, don’t have children. Or only have one child per couple. My wife and I decided not to have children (not because of the environment), and with that decision we have saved the future of the Earth the burden of two people. No amount of recycling your trash, using reusable grocery bags, driving hybrids made of toxic materials, or being a polystyrene Nazi will alleviate as much environmental burden from our planet’s future as would simply not replacing your own existence here.

Last Individual

A couple of year ago I acquired and read the joint powers agreement creating IWMA. I found nothing in said document explicitly allowing IWMA to legislate anything. Therefore, they have no power to repeal something they had no power to enact in the first place.

Also, I wonder if the vote to create the polystyrene ban was by supermajority.


If the all the corruption by previous officials, the millions unaccounted for, use of credit cards on personal expenses, vacations, cars and such, secret backroom deals costing the taxpayers multiple millions all while letting officials quietly retire or just slip away with full pensions and no consequences is not be a problem for the IWMA why should this little disagreement be a problem.


How is it that even a ban on polystyrene is now racist?


This may not be the proper place for this but it is related….DOG OWNERS PLEASE PICK UP YOUR POOP BAGS!!!! lately I’m seeing them all over the place and they are gross…I see them in the roadway on the beach in store parking lots and even a McDonald’s drive through line…I see single bags and clusters of them and that’s filthy even more so than polystyrene….we are so busy trying to eliminate a so called pollutant we can’t even see while we are glossing over garbage and filth that is very visible…smart isn’t what it use to be….that’s for sure…


Bob Slydell and Bob Porter: “What would ya say… ya do here IWMA?”


Why do all the lawyers pictures on this site have ‘Bed Head”?


Jeeze. What government agency does Minnery NOT have his hands in the coffers of?!?

That guy’s cumulative monthly billings have to be in the high tens of thou$ands of our rate payer dollar$. You can’t swing a dead cat by it’s tail at any local government meeting and not hit Jeff.


Yet from the looks of that photo, he cannot afford a hair comb. Did he just roll out of bed with his suit on?