Cheyenne City Council Votes Against Bag Ban On Second Reading
The Cheyenne City Council on Monday night voted down a proposed single-use plastic bag ban on second reading.
The primary sponsor of the measure, WARD III councilman Richard Johnson, told Townsquare Media the effort is dead for now unless someone else brings it up. "It died on second reading like I thought it would. The council was divided on the issue as was the community."
The issue drew strong public opposition both in the Council Finance Committee meeting last week and at last night's regular council meeting. The overwhelming majority of people speaking at both of those meetings opposed the measure. The Finance Committee ended up not making a recommendation.
Despite the overwhelming sentiment of people speaking at the meetings in opposition, Councilman Jeff White said comments he had received on the issue ran roughly 50-50 on the issue. But he ended up voting against the measure anyway.
When Mayor Patrick Collins called for a voice vote on the proposal, White was joined by council members Bryan Cook, Tom Segrave, Pete Laybourn. and Michelle Aldrich in voting no.
Johnson, on KGAB radio's "Wake Up Wyoming'' a couple of weeks ago, expressed concerns about the roughly 250 tons of plastic bags that are deposited in the Cheyenne landfill daily. Johnson said that during public cleanups he has taken part in, he sees a lot of plastic bags littered about. In many cases, the plastic does not degrade for hundreds of years. and there are health and environmental concerns with plastic working its way into the human food chain and posing long-term environmental problems.
However, opponents argued that the elimination of bags would be a hardship both to the public and to local retailers. Testimony presented at the two hearings on the issue indicated that plastic bags only cost retailers one or two cents on average, while paper bags can cost them as much as 50 cents per bag. Many people also said calling the plastic bags "single use' is misleading, since many use the bags more than once.
Some opponents also said the effort to ban the bags, if successful, would put Wyoming in line with states like California and Colorado, which have imposed such bans. In the words of one opponent of the measure "Don't California Wyoming."
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