Translation from English

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Liz Krueger


 

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Dear Friends and Neighbors:
I was very disappointed this week that the State Senate and Assembly passed a bill (A.4883/S.4158) that would overturn New York City's Bring Your Own Bag Law, which is set to go into effect on February 15th. The bill now goes to the Governor's desk, and I have urged him to veto this misguided legislation.

Plastic bag pollution is a serious problem in New York City. Every year, we use and dispose of over 9 billion bags, weighing over 91,000 tons, and costing the city over $12.5 million to send to landfills. Many of them don’t make it that far, instead getting stuck in trees, clogging storm drains, getting caught in recycling equipment, and becoming part of the growing islands of plastic pollution that are poisoning our oceans and our food supply.
After more than two years of hearings, public meetings, debate, and compromise, the City Council decided to implement a 5-cent fee on most plastic bags. The evidence shows that such a fee is a proven and effective policy for reducing pollution, one that does not have a negative impact on low-income people or seniors - sensibly, most people just start bringing reusable bags and avoid paying the fee entirely. Cities and countries around the world have enacted similar laws, and over a dozen localities in New York State have done the same. All of New York State's leading environmental organizations support it.
But the more important issue here is respect for the right of New York City to make its own decisions. Albany has a disturbing pattern of deciding that it does not need to respect the concept of home rule for just one jurisdiction of our state - NYC. We are 8.5 million people with a sophisticated local government structure. But when it comes to public education, housing policy, and now the environment, legislators from other parts of the state think they should override our local democratic decisions. This is simply unacceptable.

If you feel, like I do, that NYC has a right to make its own decisions and see them through, please call or write Governor Cuomo TODAY and ask him to VETO A.4883/S.4158. You can reach him in any of the following ways:


Sample script for Calls and Contact Form
"Hello, my name is _______ and my address is  _________. I am calling to ask Governor Cuomo to veto S. 4158/A. 4883 and let NYC's Bring Your Own Bag Law go into effect. We need to reduce the 9 billion plastic bags that NYC residents waste every year. The city's law is supported by every environmental & climate justice group, was passed democratically by the City Council, and is modeled on effective, common-sense laws in hundreds of cities around the world. We can all remember to bring re-usable bags. With the federal government rolling back environmental protections, we must not give in to plastic industry lobbying. New York State has a strong history of leadership on conservation. I hope Governor Cuomo will help us move forward to reduce waste. Thank you."


New York State is facing unprecedented environmental challenges -- from climate change, to poisoned water, to failing infrastructure, the list goes on and on. Yet the legislature has chosen to do the bidding of corporate special interests and overturn New York City's plastic bag fee. If this bill becomes law, it will set a shameful and dangerous precedent that local solutions to local environmental issues will be vetoed in Albany. It is time for the Governor to step in and protect our environment and NYC's right to home rule.
Sincerely,
Liz Krueger
State Senator