New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) introduced legislation Monday to ban single-use plastic bags at stores and restaurants.
Cuomo said in a statement that the measure was an effort to stop the "blight of plastic bags" that is taking "a devastating toll on our streets, our water and our natural resources," the New York Times reports.
"As the old proverb goes: ‘We did not inherit the earth, we are merely borrowing it from our children,’ and with this action, we are helping to leave a stronger, cleaner and greener New York for all," Cuomo said in a statement.
A year earlier, Cuomo blocked a New York City fee on plastic bags from taking effect.
He said the city law was deeply flawed because it allowed merchants to keep the 5-cent fee as profit.
If Cuomo's effort is successful, New York would join California in banning plastic bags. Hawaii also has a de facto ban on plastic bags since all its counties have instituted bans.
Some New York Democrats have accused Cuomo's efforts of being politically motivated rather than sincere, saying his decision was driven by his primary challenge from progressive activist Cynthia Nixon.
Hours before the governor's announcement, Nixon held an environmental rally where she called Cuomo's environmental record "lacking."
Cuomo was similarly accused last week by progressives and members of the media of taking politically calculated action after he announced the decision restore the voting rights of some 35,000 individuals convicted of felonies. The critics claimed the governor only pursued executive action because of Nixon's progressive influence and to ensure an energized left didn't stymie his plans for a third term.