Event on City Hall Steps Draws Big Crowd Determined to Protect the Law
Scores of protesters showed their dedication to protecting the environment by rallying on the steps of New York City Hall on Sunday, February 5, in support of the plastic bag law passed by the New York City Council, set to take effect in less than 2 weeks. Council Member Andrew Cohen, a co-sponsor of the law, joined the coalition of 75 statewide environmental advocates and other state and local elected officials, speaking out to protest legislative efforts by elected officials in Albany to nullify the law.
New York City taxpayers pay millions each year to cart over 9 million discarded plastic bags to dumps, and once there, they do not decompose easily. Those that do not make it to landfills end up in trees, wash into storm drains, or float away into the sea, where they can choke marine organisms mistaking them for food. In recognition of these significant costs and impacts here in the five boroughs, the Council passed Intro 209, imposing a nickel charge on plastic bags taken at grocery store checkout counters, in order to encourage shoppers to carry reusable shopping bags. More than half of the Council’s members co-sponsored the measure, and it was passed, and later signed by the Mayor, in 2016.
In January, 2017, the New York State Senate moved forward with legislation to nullify the law, and on Friday, February 3, leaders of the New York State Assembly stated their intention to join in opposing the law.
“New York City’s adoption of a five cent plastic bag fee is environmentally friendly policy. Numerous other municipalities across our country have introduced similar fees and have seen a large reduction in the usage of plastic bags,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen. “The state legislature’s bills to nullify this law will usurp upon the domain of the City which would create a dangerous precedent where Albany could overturn any municipality’s local laws.”
Councilman Andrew Cohen forgets that his council district is right at the border of the Westchester County line where there will be no bag fee (Tax).
Instead of giving the bag fee (tax) to store owners who will gouge shoppers why is this bag fee (tax) not being given back to the customer as in the five cent deposit on plastic beverage bottles.
The City Council has a novel idea, but is implementing it in the wrong way, and that is why there will be opposition to the 'Bag Tax'.