HARRISBURG — Gov. Wolf on Friday vetoed legislation that would have prohibited cities, towns, and counties from banning or taxing the recyclable plastic bags used at retail stores.

In a veto message, Wolf said the legislation could thwart local governments from meeting their obligations under the state constitution to protect the environment in their communities.

"Government, at all levels, is required to prevent the unreasonable degradation, diminution, or depletion of our water, air, and land," the governor said in his message rejecting the bill.

Supporters had said it would have helped to preserve good-paying manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania.

"This decision will hurt workers and make Pennsylvania less competitive for the manufacturing sector," said Phil Rozenski, senior director of sustainability for Novolex, a packaging company that has a plant in Centre County.

Lawmakers and aides have said they do not know of any local laws restricting plastic bags in the state, though Philadelphia City Council tried in 2009 to enact a bag ban and, when that failed, debated a 25-cent fee on plastic retail bags that didn't pass, either.

"A municipality in eastern Pennsylvania may not realize its decision to ban plastic bags for local reasons is forcing a factory in central Pennsylvania to lay off its workforce," the bill's prime sponsor, Rep. Frank Farry (R., Bucks) said in a statement expressing disappointment in the veto.

The bill was one of a string of legislative efforts over the years to preempt municipalities from making their own decisions on controversial issues, and Wolf's veto won praise from the Pennsylvania Municipal League.

"If an elected governing body wishes to incentivize the use of reusable bags, promote less waste in landfills, and promote less trash on roadsides, it should be afforded the autonomy to make that decision," executive director Richard J. Schuettler said in a statement.