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Rudy: He owes me an apology

Rep. Dan Ruby, Minot

I felt it was necessary to respond to the erroneous comments Brad Magnuson leveled about me in a previous Letter to the Editor. The comments were related to the bill I introduced preventing cities from implementing bans or taxes on plastic bags, straws, cups, and other types of containers.

There were several incorrect statements but one thing that I was pleased to read is that he was finally honest about his agenda that went further than the proposed tax on plastic bags. His goal was to ban them which is what he should have said from the beginning rather than starting by raising the cost on groceries to everyone.

I probably wouldn’t have responded to Mr. Magnuson’s criticisms until he made a false claim about my reason for introducing the bill. With no proof, other than his own imagination, he claimed that I put the bill in to benefit my company thus accusing me of personally benefiting from my legislative activities. That is absolutely false and can easily be refuted. Plastic bags represent less than 1% of the waste stream according to the EPA and national litter surveys. Not one of my customers would reduce the size of their dumpsters if plastic bags were banned and the weight that determines the cost I pay at the landfill wouldn’t even be noticeable. And as an owner of a municipal solid waste landfill who has picked up more plastic bags, paper and cardboard than Mr. Magnuson has probably ever tried to do, reducing plastic bags would probably benefit me if a ban was implemented in the regions that use my landfill. To slander me and question my integrity is reprehensible and he owes me an apology.

The reason I introduced the bill was to prevent a patchwork of laws that would work as a deterrent for businesses to operate in this state. For example, there are dollar stores that operate in Minot as well as in smaller towns surrounding Minot. They would have to have different policies for Minot than they would have in every other store they have. I suppose they could use their Minot policy in all the other stores but the majority of the customers prefer plastic bags. Many of those bags are reused for trash can liners, for cleanup when walking their dogs and many other uses including being recycled. Problems for businesses could result, for example, if Bismarck had a ban and Mandan didn’t or Fargo had a ban and West Fargo didn’t. Also, we did not break new ground with this legislation. The State of Minnesota has the exact same language in their law as do 11 other states.

I could give many reasons why plastic bags aren’t the scourge of the planet and would be happy to talk to people who aren’t just trying to throw wild accusations and not knowing what they are talking about.

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