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Grayslake girl to Quinn: Veto bill banning plastic bag bans

Abby Goldberg 12 years old  who organizer petitiurging Illinois's Governor veplastics-industry bill block local plastic bag waste litter reductiefforts

Abby Goldberg, 12 years old, who organizer of petition urging Illinois's Governor to veto a plastics-industry bill to block local plastic bag waste and litter reduction efforts, delivers over 150,000 signatures to Governor Quinn at Thompson Center, Tuesday, July 3, 2012. | John H. White~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 5, 2012 6:22AM

Abby Goldberg, 12, came a long way Tuesday to hand Gov. Pat Quinn 150,000 signatures on petitions in support of her cause.

At a news conference outside the James R. Thompson Center, she stood behind a sign pleading: “Gov. Pat Quinn Please Veto Bag Bill.”

The bill Abby opposes is SB 3442, which would prevent all local governments in Illinois — except Chicago — from banning plastic shopping bags. The bill was approved by the state Legislature, and its fate now rests in Quinn’s hands.

What started as a school project for Abby at Prairie Crossing Charter School, a school honored with a national green ribbon award in Grayslake, has resulted in her becoming a spokeswoman against the industry-backed bill.

“I saw a picture of a sea turtle with a plastic bag in its mouth,” said Abby, who stood on a stool at times and spoke in a soft voice and once counted 45 plastic bags on a two-mile drive near her home in Grayslake. “Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would get 154,000 signatures.”

Abby appeared with others who oppose the bill, including Don Gerard, the mayor of Champaign, and the heads of Environment Illinois and the Chicago Recycling Coalition.

Gerard noted that Sam’s Club, a superstore members pay to shop at, does not provide plastic bags. Gerard said the bill is an example of “big government taking away rights of the local government.”

Abby later presented the signatures to Quinn. Goldberg handed Quinn five recyclable paper bags to use at his office. The bags had a slash through the words “SB 3442” written on them.

After receiving the petitions, Quinn would not reveal whether he would sign the bill.

“You’ll have to wait and see,” he said. He pledged to “do things right for the environment.”

Quinn, a one-time grassroots activist who ran petition drives that collected millions of signatures, promises to have Abby back when he reaches his decision.

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