As his Democratic gubernatorial challenger joined environmental protesters outside the Capitol, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed a ban on single-use plastic bags at stores throughout New York State. "As the old proverb goes: 'We did not inherit the earth, we are merely borrowing it from our children, ' and with this action, we are helping to leave a stronger, cleaner and greener NY for all".
Energy efficiency efforts in a state such as NY could yield significant benefits.
Cuomo said his plan will advance the state toward its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. Just a year ago, Cuomo personally killed a New York City proposal to add a five-cent fee for every plastic bag just one day before it was supposed to go into effect.
In Central New York, Madison County considered a similar ban for plastic bags.
Cuomo's announcement also comes at a time when activists are demonstrating at the state capital to ask the governor to put an end to approving any new fossil fuel plants. The measure would impact single-use plastic carryout bags at any point of sale. The bill would take effect on January 1, 2019. To further develop energy efficiency measures, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will commit an extra $36.5 million to train almost 20,000 new employees for energy efficiency jobs.
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Cuomo created the task force previous year after he signed a measure that blocked the city from going forward with a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper disposable bags.
In New York State, residents use 23 billion plastic bags annually. From Buffalo to the Adirondack Park, and from the Catskills to the Long Island Sound, plastic bag waste is degrading our natural resources and forcing municipalities to spend precious resources to address it.
She said Cuomo's energy plan released on Friday was "rehashed" and doesn't differ much from his previous plan.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito said, "Plastic pollution has become a serious threat to our lakes, rivers and marine environment as well as public health".
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced support for a plastic bag ban in March.