Image: Michael Kowalczyk via Flickr.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo introduced a bill on Monday to outlaw single-use plastic bags in the state of New York. The New York Times reports that Cuomo announced the three-page post-Earth-Day bill as part of the effort to fight the “blight of plastic bags” and their “devastating toll on our streets, our water and our natural resources.”
A year ago, Cuomo, a Democrat who is seeking re-election in the fall, blocked a five cent surcharge on single use plastic bags that was sought by New York City. The impending election has been in the news recently due in part to the arrival of Democratic challenger Cynthia Nixon, who recently presented her climate platform which included support for a bill from the State Assembly that would achieve 100 percent renewables by 2050.
If Cuomo’s bill passes, the state would join California, which banned the bags in 2016. All counties in Hawaii have a similar ban in effect. The State Assembly is said to be supportive of the ban, though it faces a more unknown fate in the Republican-dominated Senate.
Some who opposed the five-cent fee, such as State Senator (D-Brooklyn) Simcha Felder, say the surcharge would unfairly burden low-income consumers. Gov. Cuomo had said at the time the surcharge bill was “deeply flawed” in its provision for merchants to keep the fee–which would add up to $100 million a year–as profit.
In Cuomo’s new proposal, some bags would be exempted from the ban including those used for meat, fish, poultry or deli products, bags sold in bulk or used in bulk packages of fruit and dried goods, newspaper bags; trash, food storage and garment bags and takeout food bags.
The new proposal is reportedly the result of a a study released in January by a task force convened by the governor last year which considered such a ban as one of eight options. A spokesman for Cuomo said that the proposal of bill followed the completion this expert research and was not related to Nixon’s candidacy.
In similar news, the New York City Council has introduced legislation to ban the sale of any plastic water bottles in city parks and beaches. The proposed bottle ban follows President Trump’s repeal of a six-year ban on the sale of bottled water at national parks. That ban was intended to reduce the pollution and waste caused by the plastic bottles.
- Is the Mayor’s Plan To Stop Dumping Garbage by 2030 Possible–or Just Trash Talk?
- De Blasio releases plan for New York City to follow Paris climate agreement
- The Urban Lens: The surprising beauty of Sunset Park’s Sims Municipal Recycling Facility