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Chautauqua County microbeads ban moves closer to reality

MAYVILLE – Microbeads – the minute plastic scrubbing particles used in some cosmetic products – may be banned in Chautauqua County with committee approval of the law Wednesday and a scheduled vote of the full Legislature next Wednesday.

The measure that would prohibit the sale of personal-care products containing microbeads cleared the first hurdle when it met the sapproval of the Legislature’s Planning and Economic Development Committee.

County Attorney Steve Abdella recommended penalties for violators at $1,000 for the first violation and $2,500 for subsequent infractions.

The original proposal before the committee was $2,500 for each day that the products remained on the shelf in stores.

“Just to clarify, we want to consider changing the fines to make this more business-friendly,” said Legislator George Borrello, R- Silver Creek. The county’s Department of Weights and Measures will be responsible for enforcing the ban.

Legislator Terry Niebel, R-Sheridan, recommended that the law become enforceable on July 1, instead of 180 days after filing with the Secretary of State. Borrello said he wanted to leave it at 180 days because he hoped to model the law recently approved in neighboring Erie County.

“I have been working on this for quite a while and I am happy it is moving forward,” said Borrello, who said he is concerned for small businesses that depend on fishing and quality water in Lake Erie.

“Your efforts to protect our aquatic environment are something we should take pride in,” said Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point.

In other matters, the committee: • Approved a resolution to accept funding through State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, to combat invasive species in three Lake Erie harbors – Barcelona, Dunkirk and the Town of Hanover. The three would receive $100,000 each for projects to help maintain the water.

• OK’d a resolution to consolidate Chautauqua County agricultural districts for reporting and review purposes.