Cuomo signs bill killing NYC's 5-cent plastic bag fee

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Robin Levine, the Council's head of communications, pointed out that "the Council would be more than willing to collect a portion of the bag fee for environmental purposes, if only they granted us the authority to do so.This ridiculous State law undermines New York City's authority, hurts New Yorkers and sets a risky precedent for our city and every other locality in the state".

Cuomo announced plans to establish a task force, with co-chairs appointed by the State Senate and State Assembly, that will propose legislation by the end of this year.

"Let us be clear: a task force that does not lead to a robust statewide law is not an acceptable consolation prize", New York League of Conservation Voters president Marcia Bystryn said.

Cuomo issues a statement on protecting New York's air, land, and water.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
Gov. Cuomo is tasked with deciding whether customers should be charged for plastic bags when shopping or not

Cuomo called the city's legislation "deeply flawed" and said the state needs to come up with a better solution.

He went on to say, "There are two possible rationales for New York City's bill providing the fee to profit the merchants: political expediency or legal impossibility". He said he will call for a task force, with the help of legislative and community leaders, to arrive at a statewide solution on the ecological problems caused by disposable bags by year's end.

"I am so pleased to see that Governor Cuomo agrees with many of my constituents, who believe that there are far better ways to address the plastic bag issue than charging customers five cents to the benefit of the grocery stores", Addabbo said.

City councilmembers Brad Lander (D-Park Slope) and Margaret Chin (D-Chinatown), the original sponsors of the plastic bag bill, issued a joint statement expressing their disappointment with the latest turn of events.

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"It is completely false that it was done for political purposes".

"Our true goal is to reduce plastic pollution in the environment", said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "To use that as a justification to kill the bill is the height of chutzpah".

"We fought plastic bags, and for now, plastic bags won". They are stubborn and toxic forms of solid waste. "And they are hard to dislodge from the state legislature, too", the councilmembers stated.

The pair noted that a number of other cities across the country and across the planet have passed similar laws, and that New York City's statute would exempt people on public assistance from the extra impost. Bags used to keep raw meat separate from other food would not have been included and shoppers using SNAP or WIC would not have been required to pay. Heastie suggests he might support a fee if the money went to eco-friendly initiatives, while some of his members consider it a tax on the poor. The bill's backers had estimated it would cut bag usage by 60 percent and save $12.5 million in sanitation fees each year. Under the city's plan, the merchants would have kept the 5 cents charged for each plastic bag. "Overwhelming evidence shows that they will switch".

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"With dysfunction in Washington, now more than ever, we need to empower our local governments to adopt common sense solutions, not block them." said Greg Young, City of Gloversville supervisor and co-coordinator of Elected Officials To Protect New York.

"I have reeled in numerous plastic bags while fishing in the Hudson and off Long Island", the governor said in a 925-word statement.

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