NYS DEC Commissioner has announced that the court rule passed on Thursday, 20th of August, 2020, on restriction of plastic bags is a victory and vindication of the state’s effort to restrict the use of plastic bags in New York.
Commissioner Basil Seggos stated that the NYS DEC defended four of the five causes of action brought in the case and is expected to soon provide notice and direction to effected stores regarding the state’s enforcement of the law.
“DEC encourages New Yorkers to transition to reusable bags whenever and wherever they shop and to use common-sense precautions to keep reusable bags clean,” Seggos said in a statement.
The plaintiffs had argued in their legal challenge that the law adopted in 2019 restricting single-use plastic bags was unconstitutional, conflicted with existing state laws and overly vague.
They also challenged the state’s regulations crafted to implement the law, saying they contradicted portions of the Bag Waste Reduction Act and rejected the idea the DEC had the authority to create a definition of exempt reusable bags.
Enforcement of the state’s restrictions on plastic bags was initially delayed past the law’s March 1 implementation date because of the state’s slow roll out of its controversial regulations dictating how the law would take shape.
At the behest of the judge overseeing the case against the regulations, further delays were agreed upon between the state and the plaintiffs.
Environmentalists had argued that the state should begin implementing the restrictions prior to the court deciding on the merits of the regulations.
During the pandemic, the DEC has continued to educate the public and stores about the law and has been distributing reusable bags.
While many grocery stores around the state utilized plastic bags during the pandemic, some have begun to scale back their use. Price Chopper began phasing out plastic bags at its checkout lines in August.