City Council has bigger fish to fry

Like a lot of Durango residents, I’m confused. Is our community becoming more environmentally progressive, or more regressive? Plastics shipped to China are turned away, and paper sent to Arizona solves a local environmental issue while creating a national one. Did our city officials evaluate the national/international effects of this decision? Exporting our trash to China is inappropriate (Herald, Sept. 9). Now, plastic grocery bags. Like author Bjorn Lomborg, I am becoming a “skeptical” environmentalist.

Are our city councilors solving real problems or pursuing their personal agendas (without factual data) while bigger problems loom before us? Does the plastic bag issue deserve so much of our city councilors’ attention? Should Dean Brookie be using our tax-paid city staff for his telemarketing campaign against plastic bags, or should he and our other city councilors be solving real problems such as finding an environmentally acceptable outlet for our single-stream recyclables, fixing our aging city sewer system, or how about our city parking crisis? I suspect tourists circling around downtown Durango in search of parking contribute far more carbon to our city footprint than disposing of plastic grocery bags.

The facts don’t support cloth bags (See http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/politicalcalculations/2012/06/16/paper_plastic_or_cloth_which_bag_is_best_for_the_environment/page/full). Cloth bags require more water and create more greenhouse gases to manufacture, launder and dispose of than disposable bags from four local stores. Some communities around the country are getting rid of plastic water bottles instead because they have a much greater environmental impact than plastic-bag disposal as well as a significant health impact (BPA and other chemicals). Why don’t we take that issue on if we’re worried about our landfill?

Plastic bags? There are bigger fish to fry. What’s next on our city councilors’ agenda – McDonalds menu or the Big Gulp? I hope not. I would like to see our community united rather than divided by emotional topics that have little to do with the critical infrastructure issues good government should be addressing.

Dave Nulton

Durango

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