The Fayetteville City Council took a stand against climate change Tuesday night by officially supporting the idea of a carbon fee meant to reduce the effects of climate change.
In a non-legally-binding resolution, aldermen voted 5-1-1 to approve the resolution submitted by Alderman Sarah Marsh. Many aldermen and public commenters said while the move is symbolic, it is important to send a message against climate change.
Alderman Martin Schoppmeyer was the lone vote against the measure, while Alderman Justin Tennant abstained from voting.
Tennant told aldermen before the vote that he does not think the council should use its power to push symbolic positions that could be better left to state and national officials.
“This is a little too much of a stretch for me to justify it,” Tennant said.
Tennant added he does not believe his constituents would want him to vote for the measure.
Alderman Sarah Marsh addressed her colleagues by citing climate change statistics, saying change is needed to reverse pollution’s effect on the earth. She called the potential carbon fee on consumers “gentle but effective,” adding, “Fayetteville does not live in a bubble.”
She said such a fee could start at around $15.
Marsh received much support from the other aldermen and public commenters. Alderman Adella Gray agreed with the measure and said, “If we don’t take any action, it’s like putting our heads in the sand.”
Alderman Matthew Petty expressed the need for more scientists at the local levels to cover such issues, but said he agrees with the resolution.
“No one should be allowed to pollute for free.,” Petty said.
One public commenter stood against the measure, urging aldermen to consider the possibility of increased energy costs if a carbon tax were created.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan addressed the council in support of the measure just before the resolution passed, saying, “We owe it not only to ourselves, but to our children and our children’s children.”