Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Gov. Cuomo signs bill blocking NY City's plastic bag fee

Kenneth Lovett reports today in the NY Daily News

ALBANY — New York City shoppers can put away their coin purses if they want to continue to use plastic bags.
Gov. Cuomo Tuesday signed a bill to impose a moratorium blocking the city from imposing a controversial 5-cent fee on plastic disposable bags.
Cuomo, who released a lengthy statement on the issue, said the city law that was due to go into effect on Wednesday was “deeply flawed” even if the intent to clean up the environment was a good one.
The governor said he’s creating a task force to come up with a uniformed statewide plan to deal with “the plastic bag problem.”
“There are a lot of complicated issues. We’re going through it and we’ll have a decision soon,” he said.
The Assembly and Senate this week overwhelmingly passed legislation that would impose a one-year moratorium on the city bag fee law that is due to go into effect Feb. 15.
Supporters of the moratorium criticized the bag fee as nothing more than a tax that would hurt lower income people.
Opponents of the delay said the fee would benefit the environment by reducing the number of plastic bags sent to landfills. They also ripped the Legislature for overruling a separately elected body — the City Council.
The NY/NJ Baykeeper responded to the news with this statement:
“We are deeply disappointed with Governor Cuomo’s decision to nullify New York City’s bag. The bag law was scheduled to go into effect today and would have encouraged consumers to bring their own reusable bag to avoid a five cent fee and prevent plastic waste from littering neighborhoods and waterways. Instead, the Council is forced to postpone moving forward with a new bill for one year. While today’s moratorium is a setback for local victories and our environment, New York City’s Bag It Coalition is not going away. NY/NJ Baykeeper will continue working with coalition partners and local and state officials to address plastic waste from entering our waterways. We hope in the near future, New York City will join other cities who have reduced plastic waste by implementing no-brainer carryout bag fees,” said Sandra Meola, Communications and Outreach Associate, NY/NJ Baykeeper. 

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