California Gov. Gray Davis has vetoed legislation that would have forced plastic container makers to pay higher fees to support recycling in the state, but the decision wasn't exactly welcomed by the industry.
That's because the Sept. 30 veto leaves unresolved a key legal battle over how those fees are calculated, essentially rejecting the Legislature's attempt to solve the problem and instead turning it over to the judiciary. A much more expensive solution could emerge from the court case.
``This creates a tenuous situation at the moment - rather than the certainty of a legislative solution, we have the uncertainty of a court decision,'' said Ralph Simoni, a Sacramento, Calif., lobbyist for Plastic Recycling Corp. of California.
PRCC represents beverage companies and PET bottle makers.
The PET industry pays about $8 million a year now to support recycling in the state. The legislation would have pushed that to at least $12 million a year, while the court case could push it to at least $24 million.
Davis said he vetoed the bill because it would cost the state $4 million a year to implement and require hiring 27 new employees. He also objected because the bill was pushed through with limited debate in the waning days of the legislative session.
The bill would have tied fees to recycling rates, lowering payments if rates rose.
The lawsuit was brought by Sacramento-based Californians Against Waste.