California Gov. Gray Davis (D) vetoed legislation yesterday that would have created a program to recycle electronic products and keep their hazardous components out of landfills. The high-tech industry strongly opposed the legislation, which would have levied a $10 recycling fee per new computer or television sold. Environmentalists, who say the veto reflects the political clout of Silicon Valley, had hoped the bill would help solve the problem of how to safely discard the state’s estimated 6 million old computers and televisions. Computer monitors and TV screens each contain several pounds of lead, and other components contain such toxic materials as mercury and cadmium; all of these can seep into soil and groundwater if the equipment isn’t disposed of properly. Davis justified the veto by saying the bill would expand the government bureaucracy at a time when the state is making major cuts elsewhere, but said he hoped to see a different e-waste law on the books next year.
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