August 26, 2012
To the Honorable Members of the
97th General Assembly:
I would like to commend the General Assembly for their important
work on Senate Bill 3442. I pledge to continue working with lawmakers on this issue
in the coming months.
Senate Bill 3442 creates a statewide plastic bag and film
recycling program to reduce the number of bags and films that end up in our
landfills each year. Specifically, the bill requires manufacturers to register
with the Environmental Protection Agency and develop a recycling plan. Units of
government nationwide have realized the growing problem of plastic film, which
accounts for approximately 4% of waste in landfills. Only 3% of the 500,000
tons of plastic waste produced every year is currently recycled. Plastic bags are
too often found tangled in trees, littering waterways, and harming wildlife. We
must enact policies that prevent pollution and safeguard our communities and
natural resources. As Governor, I am committed to preserving our environment
for future generations.
Since this legislation was sent to me, many interested
parties have raised important concerns regarding its potential effects. While I
agree with the intent of the legislation, I share concerns that this program
would not increase the rate of recycling beyond the natural growth. Local
authorities and the environmental community strongly oppose this program
because the metrics are simply not aggressive enough and home rule preemption
prevents more stringent local regulation. This bill is more restrictive on
municipalities than any other plastic bag regulation in the country, which
creates a roadblock for locals to choose the policies that fit the needs of the
area. Communities throughout the country experienced great success with
different types of policies, as can be seen in the numerous municipalities in
California that enacted an outright ban on plastic bags.
Local governments deserve the ability to enact environmental
health laws that best respond to their communities. This bill hinders further
opportunities to realize even greater benefits from other types of municipal
plastic film regulation. I look forward to reviewing future policies that will
bring Illinois to the forefront of sustainability.
Therefore, pursuant to Article IV, Section 9(b) of the
Illinois Constitution of 1970, I return Senate Bill 3442, entitled “AN ACT
concerning safety.”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.