Letter To The Editor: Council To Hear PRB Opinion On Plastic Bag Ban/Tax At High Noon Friday

By BRIAN MCCOOL
Los Alamos

We’ve had an Open Forum vote on the plastic bag ban/tax. The community was overwhelmingly against it.

Proponents of a ban/tax cried foul to the Environmental Sustainability Board (ESB) complaining that the other side “stuffed the ballot”. When all anonymous votes are eliminated, the numbers are the same. This absolutely demolishes the claims of online “cheating”.

The proponents of a ban/tax talk about the “negative externalities” of the plastic bags, yet they refuse to look at their “solutions” in the same light. They refuse to acknowledge that paper bags are much worse for the environment.

 They refuse to acknowledge that the re-usable plastic bags made overseas are worse for the environment both in production and final disposition when they are no longer usable. They refuse to acknowledge the legal ramifications of the county government mandating that merchants charge a fee for a product.

The proponents of a ban/tax complain about how unfair it is that they have to “subsidize” the use of the plastic bag when a merchant chooses to offer them for free. There are many things that merchants offer to their customers to make it easier for their wares to be sold, yet you don’t hear them complaining about those things.

That is a business decision best left to the business owner and management. If a proponent of a ban is truly offended by what a business chooses to offer, that person certainly has the right to take their business elsewhere.

The Proponents of a ban/tax readily admit that their proposal in the grand scheme of things is a very small, immeasurable step towards saving the planet. Yet they railed against an educational campaign proposed to the ESB as too small of a step.

 I would argue that getting information out to county residents concerning the transformation of the county landfill to waste station would provide measurable results. Showing people how they could load a truck or trailer to minimize their time spent at the waste station and maximize the recycling and re-use would produce measurable results.

From day one, this bag ban/tax proposal has been a solution in desperate need of a problem to solve. The ESB will recommend that no action be taken concerning a bag ban/tax. I sincerely hope that the county council will vote against taking any action based upon this recommendation as well as the results of the Open Forum.

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