New York – State Senator Liz Krueger released the following statement today regarding the Senate passage of S7336, which would override the recently passed New York City law (Intro 209-A) that places a 5-cent fee on disposable carry-out bags:

“I am extremely disappointed that the Senate voted today to override the decision of the New York City Council in favor of the interests of the plastic bag lobby. This bill would prevent any municipality in the state, not just New York City, from making their own decision about how best to address the growing problem of plastic bag pollution. Plastic pollution hurts low-income communities the most – that’s why it’s particularly disturbing that the bag industry continues to use low-income people as human shields to prevent any effective action. It’s sad that the New York State Senate is such an easy mark for an industry that couldn’t care less about the well-being of our constituents.

“The purpose of the City’s fee is not to raise money, but to encourage a change in behavior so that people will switch to reusable bags. Nobody has to pay the fee, and despite offensive suggestions to the contrary from the bag lobby and their supporters, low-income New Yorkers are just as capable as anyone else of saying no to plastic bags or bringing a reusable bag. Far from paying a price, low-income communities will see an immediate benefit from the City law, with less litter and less garbage truck traffic in their neighborhoods.

“The City Council debated their bill for three years, and passed a law that has been proven to work in cities and countries around the world. We should respect the City’s democratic process, and allow their chosen solution time to prove whether or not it will be effective here. The bill passed by the State Senate today is short-sighted, and will make it much harder for every county, town, and village in New York State to tackle the long-term problem of plastic bag pollution.”