A handful of towns and cities in NY now ban plastic bags, and California is the only other entire state to have such a policy.
Actress and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon led a march Monday of more than 1,000 environmental activists to the State Capitol, saying Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's climate change record lagged his rhetoric. On Monday, Mr. Felder said that he had not had time to review the Cuomo bill but that his opposition had to do with fees and taxes, not a ban per se.
The bill exempts garment bags, trash bags and any bags used to wrap or contain certain foods, such as fruits and sliced meats. "They're bad for the environment, they're bad for the economy, they're bad for NY". The Cuomo administration had said earlier this year it was studying the plastic bag issue.
Cuomo's campaign defended his record on protecting the environment and devising ways to combat climate change, saying he led the effort to ban fracking in NY and fought for regulations reducing carbon emissions. The task force is led by State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos along with co-chairs Senator Thomas O'Mara and Assemblyman Steve Englebright.
"The speaker supports banning unnecessary plastic waste, and we will review this proposal", said the spokesman, Michael Whyland. Cuomo's office said the costs do not include the significant cleanup costs to remove plastic through litter collection programs and beach and ocean cleanup efforts.
His statement in an April 23 news release accompanying the announcement echoed the arguments of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council members who passed the fee: bags crowd landfills, strangle wildlife and accumulate in waterways. One municipality has a plastic bag ban with a fee on single-use paper bags and bags that qualify as reusable, including 2.25 mil flexible plastic bags.
Every year, NY residents use about 23 billion plastic bags, leading to litter and plastic pollution.