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Environment

Albuquerque City Council votes to repeal plastic bag ban

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Flying grocery bag over New Mexico sky.

On January 1st, 2020, Albuquerque’s Clean and Green Retail Ordinance took effect, banning the use of any single-use plastic bag for the purpose of carrying products from the point of sale.

On Monday night, the Albuquerque City Council voted 6-3, to repeal this ordinance.

The vote came after a lengthy public comment section from a wide array for citizens, including some middle and high school students.

Many voiced their support to keep the ban in place, citing the negative environmental, public health, and tourism impacts the use of plastic bags has.

Many also said the plastic bag ban sets an example for other cities within the state and for future generations in Albuquerque.

Once public comment had concluded, council president Issac Benton made a motion to continue the discussion on the bill at a future meeting in June.

But councilwoman Brook Bassan, of District 4 said the continuation of the bill conversation was not needed.

“I certainly am not going to support a continuance. I think that  se here and at the same time, if we continue to as discussed, then what? It’s like a common theme at this point. And this time I feel like if we were able to discuss this tonight and vote on it, then perhaps we can do what Councilman Sanchez is talking about. And what all of us are talking about and what all of the people we just heard about are talking about. We can move forward and work on crime and homelessness.”

Councilman Louie Sanchez of District 1 echoed Bassan’s desire to finish the discussion in Monday’s meeting.

“I just want to say with all that we went through tonight and listening to everybody, we’ve been dealing with this on our emails every single day and I’m ready for a vote.”

The council voted 6-3 in favor of continuing the discussion of the bill at Monday’s meeting.

After further debate, councilors voted to repeal the ban.

After the vote was completed, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller released a statement saying that no one wants to see plastic bags hanging from trees and blowing down our streets again.

Keller also said the council should have waited for the results of an impact study they themselves commissioned before taking this premature vote.