SAN FRANCISCO— Members of the national coalition behind the Presidential Plastics Action Plan gathered outside the Environmental Protection Agency’s San Francisco office today to deliver more than 100,000 petitions calling for President Biden and his administration to adopt the plan.
The plan, released in December by a coalition of some 600 community and conservation groups, calls for Biden to take eight executive actions to combat the plastic pollution crisis, including a ban on new plastic production facilities, using federal purchasing power to curb single-use plastics, tightening up regulation of the petrochemical industry, ending fossil fuel subsidies and protecting vulnerable communities from pollution.
“President Biden has taken some laudable actions on climate change and environmental justice, but ignoring plastic is a big mistake,” said Stephanie Prufer, a political organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Plastic production pollutes frontline communities and keeps driving the climate crisis when we need to be doing everything we can to fight the life-threatening dominance of fossil fuels. It’s time to act.”
Today’s event featured jars filled with plastic nurdles — some of the billions that Formosa Plastics illegally discharged into Texas waterways — and a presentation of the petitions to someone costumed as President Biden. There were also speeches by representatives from the Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, and the Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research and Education (COARE).
“If Biden is serious about protecting our environment from plastics pollution, he needs to take action to restrict the supply of cheap plastics at its source,” said Mark Schlosberg, senior advisor with Food & Water Watch. “This means banning fracking and halting the approval of new gas pipelines and petrochemical facilities which facilitate the production of plastics.”
The Presidential Plastics Action Plan responds to the plastic industry’s aggressive expansion of facilities using the country’s oversupply of fracked gas to make throwaway plastic that fills our oceans, landfills and landscapes. Petrochemical-plastic projects harm frontline communities with toxic air and water pollution and worsen the climate crisis.
“Never before has the impact of plastic pollution on the environment, but also human health, climate, and social equity, been so clear,” said Christopher Chin, executive director of COARE. “With these suggested executive actions, President Biden could take some simple — yet effective — steps toward a more healthy, robust, and just future.”
“ President Biden must confront environmental racism and the climate crisis by implementing the Presidential Plastics Action Plan, starting by revoking permits for the proposed Formosa Plastics plant in St. James, Louisiana,”,” said Jennifer Krill, executive director with Earthworks. “Cancer Alley and the rest of the U.S. deserve clean air, clean water, and an environment free of plastic pollution. We can’t get there if the petrochemical industry is able to continue expanding.”