Duluth Council Passes Plastic Bag Fee, Two Councilors Opposed

City has until April to decide enforcement.

DULUTH, Minn.- After discussing the issue of plastic bags for almost four years and  debating the Five Cent Bag Fee ordinance for two months, Duluth City Council has passed the ordinance 6-2, with Councilors Forsman and Van Nett opposed.

As per usual with the meetings over the past couple months, many members of the public spoke out on the issue, a majority in favor, with few opposed.

But councilors who have been quiet til now, like Councilor Renee Van Nett, spoke out.

Van Nett argued that the fee would have a negative impact on those living in poverty, that those individuals cannot be overlooked in the discussion.

“If no one’s gonna talk about poverty and support people in poverty and do any of that, I’m gonna do that,” the Fourth District Councilor said. “Yeah the environment’s definitely important, yeah that’s all there, I’m there with that.”

“But if no one’s gonna do anything about poverty and talk about it in a way that’s real, then I’m gonna have to do it.”

First District Councilor Gary Anderson responded directly, that reducing the environmental impact of plastic bags will benefit those living with poverty.

“As I understand it the people most adversely effected by climate change are those people who are living in poverty,” he said. “And looking at the big picture, this proposal if it passes is going to create uncomfortable change for many people, for all of us it’s gonna challenge us.”

“But I have to disagree.”

The next steps will be figuring out enforcement of the ordinance, which the City has until April to do.


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