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Environmental concerns are a key rationale behind the proposed plastic bag fee.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday, March 12 announced the launch of the first ever New York State Plastic Bag Tax Force.

The group, led by state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos along with co-chairs State Senator Thomas O’Mara and Assemblymember Steve Englebright, will be tasked with developing a report and proposed legislation to address the “detrimental impact” of plastic bags on the state’s environment.

The task force was formed just one month after Cuomo first announced the venture, and amidst the controversy of New York City’s pending five-cent fee on disposable bags, which had been fiercely championed by a group of legislators on both sides of the aisle from southwest Brooklyn.

“New York has led the nation by taking bold action to protect our environment – and this task force marks another step forward in that effort,” said Cuomo. “The costly and negative impact of plastic bags on New York’s natural resources is a statewide issue that demands a statewide solution. This diverse coalition of experts will bring the experience and knowledge necessary to tackle this problem and safeguard New York’s environment for future generations.”

Members of the task force will work to develop a statewide plan to address the issue.

According to Cuomo’s office, residents across New York use approximately 23 billion plastic a year.


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