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Source: The Queens Chronicle

Mayor: Bag plastic grocery sacks in NYS

Gov. Cuomo agrees it may be time to consider long-debated state ban


Posted: March 12, 2018
Originally Published: March 8, 2018

President Trump has become accustomed to his tweets drawing strong reactions.

But one by Mayor de Blasio this past Sunday about the future of plastic grocery bags in the city actually went so far as to get Gov. Cuomo to agree with him — possibly.

“We need to ban plastic bags — the time for debate is over,” the mayor tweeted. “They’re bad for the environment, they’re bad for the economy, they’re bad for New York. The state is behind the curve here, it’s time to put our planet first.”

The Governor’s Office did not respond to an email from the Chronicle seeking comment on the mayor’s musings. But multiple published and broadcast reports on Monday quoted a Cuomo spokesman as being in agreement.

“It’s clear that we need to address the real environmental concerns caused by the proliferation of plastic bags, and a ban is one of the options we’re reviewing,” Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi told the New York Daily News and New York Post.

Cuomo in February 2017 signed a bill that struck down a city law that would have imposed a fee of at least five cents per bag on most paper and plastic grocery bags used in the city.

Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), author of the law struck down last year, estimates on his official website that New Yorkers use more than 9.3 billion plastic bags per year, and spend more than $12 million to transport more than 90,000 tons to landfills, excluding those that wind up in streets, trees and waterways.

Cuomo did, as promised, form a task force to study options with the aim of having one statewide solution rather than a patchwork of local laws. Suffolk County and the City of Long Beach on Long Island, for example, have five-cent fees per bag, as the state moratorium applies only to cities of more than 1 million people, which means exclusively New York City.

The task force in January released an 86-page report which critics said only outlined already-known options.

Legislation is being negotiated by legislative leaders and the executive branch, though state Sens. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) and Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) have introduced a bill that would set bag fees at no less than 10 cents and no more than 25 cents per bag.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, told the Chronicle on Tuesday she was pleased that de Blasio brought the issue to the fore again.

“Our ultimate goal is to ban plastic bags and have a fee on paper,” Esposito said. “If we could get that this year, that would go a long way toward combating plastic pollution. Plastic’s days are numbered. We might as well get it over with.

“What is the controversy? Cities and countries around the world have done this and we’re just catching up.”