Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Statement From the New York City Council Regarding State Plastic Bag Recycling Legislation

The Eagle received the following press release:

In spite of months of efforts on the part of the New York City Council and environmental advocates, the “Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act” — State legislation that undermines and preempts the City Council's stronger plastic bag recycling legislation — has made its way unchanged to Governor Paterson’s desk.

The following is a statement from Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn:

“I commend efforts to establish statewide plastic bag recycling. However, the State’s current legislation falls far short of the landmark plastic recycling program enacted by the New York City Council in January. And inexplicably, the bill contains a preemption provision that would prohibit our City from taking stronger action to deal with an environmental problem that should rightly be within our jurisdiction.

“The Council continues to urge Governor Paterson to secure a chapter amendment removing New York City from the bill's weaker requirements before signing this legislation into law. State legislation often
exempts New York City from particular requirements due to the unique and diverse needs of a city of nine million residents. If an agreement cannot be reached on such an amendment in this case, then the Governor
must in good conscience veto this legislation.

“The Governor has already received letters from myriad environmental organizations, similarly urging him to push for a chapter amendment. Additionally, we urge all environmentally-minded New Yorkers to join our call by signing a letter to Governor Paterson at

Statement from Peter F. Vallone Jr., prime sponsor of the Council’s plastic bag recycling bill:

“Albany cannot seem to take one step forward without taking two steps back. It's great that they have enacted statewide plastic bag legislation, but it’s terrible that they have significantly weakened our
law and have restricted the right of New York City and others to do even more. Albany is not just recycling our ideas, but also throwing our authority into the landfill.”

Statement from Sanitation Committee Chair Michael McMahon:

“The State Legislature's refusal to take action on a chapter amendment will undermine the efforts of the Council to bring effective plastic bag recycling to New York City. Their current bill takes the power of
enforcement out of local hands, all but ensuring that this legislation will go ignored. Governor Paterson can not allow the current legislation to become law.”

Speaker Quinn discussed the state legislation further in an address to the New York League of Conservation Voters December 2nd at 6:30 p.m. at the Russian Tea Room, 150 West 57th St.

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