* This was pretty much expected…
The rule in 13-year-old Abby Goldberg’s house is no phone calls from boys at night. But on Saturday, her father made an exception when Gov. Pat Quinn called the Grayslake girl turned activist shortly after 9 p.m. to share some good news.
After her yearlong crusade and an online campaign dubbed “Don’t Let Big Plastic Bully Me,” the northwest suburban girl is celebrating Quinn’s decision to veto legislation that would have prevented cities and towns in Illinois from banning plastic bags and imposing fees on their use.
“I was so excited,” the giddy eighth-grader said Sunday. “I thanked him so many times.”
Concerned about the fate of animals that can eat or become fatally tangled in discarded plastic bags, Abby posted a petition on Change.org in June decrying “the devastation that millions of plastic bags have caused the environment and ocean life.” A month later, with more than 150,000 signatures in hand, she traveled to Springfield and urged Quinn to oppose the industry-backed bill. On Saturday, Quinn called Abby to tell her he had no intention of signing the plastic bag bill.
* No way could Quinn resist such an entreaty. And now Champaign may move forward with a ban or a tax…
Mayor Don Gerard on Sunday applauded Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of a bill that would have prevented Champaign from dealing with plastic bags on its own terms. Gerard said local officials can now resume discussions about limiting the use of the bags at stores within its borders. […]
If the veto stands, Gerard said it could be time to continue the discussions in the Champaign City Building of banning or placing a per-bag fee on plastic bags at checkout lines.
“I suppose it is time for us now to continue those discussions,” Gerard said. “There was actually pretty substantial support to move forward with something, to do something.”
City officials earlier this year presented the program to city council members as a way to deal with plastic bag litter throughout the city. By forcing retailers to charge a fee — something like 5 cents per bag — or by banning the use of plastic bags altogether, they said residents would use fewer bags when they check out at stores.
* A veto override is possible, since the legislation garnered strong support in the General Assembly…
The veto is a victory for Abby Goldberg, a 13-year-old from Grayslake, Ill., who had launched a petition drive against the bill. Goldberg wanted her community to ban plastic bags, and in July she personally delivered a petition with more than 150,000 signatures urging the veto.
On Aug. 26, Goldberg sent a message to her Twitter followers that the battle is not over.
“OK, thanks are done, time to role up our sleeves again!” she wrote to backers who were congratulating her on the victory. “Encourage [Illinois] legislators to not override veto!!!!!!” she wrote.
Manufacturers said they were disappointed in Quinn’s decision. Lawmakers could still vote to override Quinn’s veto.
Mark Denzler, vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, said in a statement that the law “represented an opportunity for Illinois to lead the nation in recycling plastic bags and plastic film that account for a major part of the waste stream.”
He said that without a statewide regulation manufacturers and retailers would face a “confusing and costly patchwork of regulations across the state.”
* The response from the Retail Merchants Association…
The most critical aspect of the bill-most often left out by opponents’-is the recycling requirement of both plastic bags and plastic film. Plastic film includes newspaper bags, dry-cleaning bags, shrink wrap, etc. Plastic bags constitute just 15% of plastic waste, whereas 85% comes from plastic film.
* Legislation would have diverted 426 tons/852,000 pounds of plastic from landfills at a minimum
* To put this in perspective, a Toyota Prius weighs 3,042 pounds. So, SB 3442 would have at a minimum diverted the equivalent of 280 Prius’ from landfills every year.
* Governor Quinn’s vetoallows home rule municipalities to take away choices from consumers who want to recycle plastic and now can tax their residents, or ban plastic bags entirely.
* SB 3442 was supported by a broad coalition of organizations such as the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA), Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA), American Progressive Bag Alliance, Chemical Industry Council of Illinois (CICI), Illinois Food Retailers Association, Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association/IL Association of Convenience Stores, National Solid Wastes Management Association and Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO)
“The legislation that passed the legislature with strong bi-partisan support would have established the first statewide recycling program in the nation,” said David Vite, President/CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA). “Governor Quinn had the opportunity to lead the nation. Instead, his veto ensures Illinois continues to be a follower without a comprehensive plan.
Those of us who advocated for a first in the nation comprehensive plastic recycling program will be reviewing our options in the coming days.”
* From the governor’s press release…
Opponents to the bill and those urging a veto include the Illinois Municipal League, Northwest Municipal Conference, nearly 150 municipalities, Sierra Club, Illinois Environmental Council, Environment Illinois, Illinois Recycling Association, Chicago Recycling Coalition, Prairie River Network, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Natural Resources Defense Council, Faith in Place, Protestants for the Common Good, Illinois Policy Institute, Surfrider Chicago, Center for Oceanic Awareness, the 175,000 signers of Abby Goldberg’s online petition and others.