New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that he is planning to introduce a statewide ban on plastic bags, saying, “The blight of plastic bags takes a devastating toll on our streets, our water, and our natural resources.”
Now, flash back to 2017, when Cuomo signed a moratorium banning New York City’s 5-cent plastic bag fee just hours before it was supposed to go into effect.
New York City residents use an estimated 10 billion plastic bags per year. Instead of allowing the City Council to pass its fee on the single-use bags, which was supposed to go into effect in February 2017, Cuomo set up a task force to look into the issue. The task force released its report in January but didn’t include any specific recommendations, instead just outlining multiple options.
Now, a month after Cynthia Nixon announced her progressive challenge to Cuomo, the governor has come out strong on the plastic bag conundrum—with another middle finger to NYC. (It’s one of several recent left turns by the governor, including reuniting the IDC and state Senate Democrats, pledging more funding to New York City’s public housing, and promising to restore voting rights to people convicted of a felony on parole, an announcement that has not yet materialized.) Nixon, for her part, was at a climate change rally with hundreds of environmentalists on Monday. I’m not saying that we should declare anything in New York politics before March 19, 2018 as B.C. (Before Cynthia). But maybe.