The city's Board of Health is poised to approve Mayor Bloomberg's plan to ban the sale of large sodas. But the Thursday vote does not mean the battle over sugary drinks will fizz out. If anything, it will super-size it. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
If the New York City Board of Health does what everyone is expecting it to do, big sodas will no longer be sold at restaurants, movie theaters and sports stadiums in the five boroughs.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he is pushing the new restrictions to improve the health of New Yorkers. The beverage industry has fought back, so far, to no avail.
An advertising campaign and petition drive have not swayed City Hall.
"We fully expect this to pass," said Eliot Hoff of New Yorkers for Beverage Choices. "This was the expectation from the day it was announced. The deck has really been stacked against us."
The proposed regulation needs approval from the Board of Health. But board members are appointed by the mayor. They have not shown any interest in derailing his plan to restrict the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.
The beverage industry has found support for its case within the City Council. But that support has only gone so far. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has said the ban seems punitive. But she says she has no intention of trying to block it with legislation.
"At this time, I do not have any interest in supporting that legislation, no," she said. "Any legislation like that, I'm not sure it exists."
The industry is instead preparing to possibly sue to block the rules.
"We are looking at all of our options as a coalition, including our legal option," Hoff said.
A fight in court may be the only option for opponents.
"I anticipate that there will be litigation," said City Councilwoman Letitia James. "I do not anticipate that there will be any action in the City Council. And I doubt there will be any action coming from Albany as well."
With the outcome of the vote on the mayor's soda plan considered a foregone conclusion, it is the next step opponents take that may determine whether these regulations take effect or meet their demise in court.