I was very disappointed to see the misleading headline, “Flagstaff city council pursues anti-uranium hauling resolution, despite legal opinion.” There is a big difference between an ordinance (law), which is legally binding, and a resolution, which is the official expression of the opinion or will of a legislative body (not legally binding). Resolutions often express values and intentions or specific positions on an issue. They can express support for another jurisdiction to take a legally binding action.
The legal opinion provided to Council and the public about the city passing an ordinance regulating the transport of uranium ore through Flagstaff said nothing at all about the illegality of a resolution that expresses the council’s opinion, values and position. In fact, the Flagstaff City Charter expressly states that the City Council speaks in one of two ways – by passing a resolution or ordinance. In this case, it is clear that the council has the authority to adopt a resolution that expresses the city’s concerns about trucks carrying uranium ore through Flagstaff on City owned roads only covered with a tarp and support for Indigenous communities that have been living for generations with the horrific consequences of uranium mining on their lands.
I applaud the Council for listening to the perspectives of residents of Flagstaff and our indigenous neighbors and giving direction to staff to bring back a resolution that simply expresses where the Council stands on this important issue. All the while achieving their 12 goals for the City.
Editor's note: The legal opinion, as the story made clear, referred to the contents of the resolution, not the authority of the council to issue it