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The Legislature's Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality Committee, which back in 2013 considered a proposal from the Environmental Management Council (EMC)for a Local Law banning single-use plastic retail bags, today considered—and recommended to the Legislature—a new proposal on the issue from the EMC, one urging a statewide ban on such plastic retail bags.

Following the EMC's recent adoption of a measure supporting such a statewide ban, the Planning committee, in a unanimous 5-0 vote, joined in recommending that the Legislature express its strong support of a plastic retail bag ban, which would also include a fee on recyclable paper bags, and urging the Governor to propose and the State Legislature to adopt such legislation as part of the State's Fiscal 2019 budget.

At the time that a Local Law was extensively discussed five years ago, County Recycling and Materials Management Director Barbara Eckstrom had advised that the issue be pursued at the State level, instead of through a Local Law.

Speaking to the committee today, EMC Chair Brian Eden said that, just as when recycling was introduced years ago, achieving such a ban on the environmentally damaging plastic bags is "eminently do-able" and can be achieved, and accepted by the public, over time. Committee Chair Anna Kelles reflected that it's realistic to proactively reduce our reliance on plastic.

The Committee, with its unanimous support, also forwarded two other resolutions for consideration by the full Legislature, to take stands on two other environmental issues—one voicing formal opposition to the proposed garbage incinerator in the Seneca County Town of Romulus; the other opposing the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) in response to the New York State Electric and Gas "non-pipe alternative" Request for Proposals to address natural gas demand in the Lansing area. Commissioner of Planning and Sustainability Katie Borgella told the committee it is clear that NYSEG will be looking to the local community for its input on those elements, mentioned as potential options in the RFP, and that actions such as this would try to put some boundaries on what the community would support.

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