BASALT, COLO. (April 25, 2:15 p.m. ET) — Voters in the small town of Basalt have overturned efforts to either ban or tax plastic bags and to place a fee on paper bags.
By a vote of 401-363, citizens in the town of 3,300 about halfway between Glenwood Springs and Aspen turned down a ballot measure that would have prohibited grocers from handing out disposable plastic bags to customers and required grocers to charge customers 20 cents for paper bags.
However, 11 miles further west, voters in Carbondale — a town of 6,300 — voted 718-691 to uphold that town's ban on plastic bags. The Carbondale plastic bag ban and a similar plastic bag ban in Aspen both go into effect May 1. Those two laws also place a 20-cent fee on paper bags handed out at checkout.
The voter referendum in Basalt was the aftermath of a petition drive after Basalt city council enacted a 20-cent fee on all paper and plastic checkout bags in September, which was scheduled to go into effect May 1.
Responding to the petition drive, Basalt council rescinded its initial ordinance, and instead approved a ban on plastic bags and a 20-cent fee on paper fees, but also agreed to place the new ordinance on the ballot in the April election.
The only U.S. communities with fees on plastic bags are Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Md. There are plastic bag bans in 70 communities in the United States.