Kicks Off Series of Hearings Investigating Plastic Production and Pollution

Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, March 30 at 10:00 am Eastern, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley will chair a Subcommittee hearing to examine the environmental impacts of plastics production. This hearing is the first in a series of hearings Merkley plans to hold in the Subcommittee on Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight that will investigate plastic production and pollution that affects human health, the climate, and the environment.

“When it comes to reducing waste, we were taught the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle; however, the reality for plastics is the three Bs: buried, burned, or borne out to sea,” said Sen. Merkley. “Plastics produce greenhouse gas emissions and release toxins their entire life span. From production, to their single-use nature, plastic pollution and climate chaos are fundamentally linked. As Chairman, my subcommittee will be undertaking a series of hearings to fully understand the damage plastics are causing to human health and our future and how we can create a truly sustainable circular economy that ends plastic pollution.”

Live video of Thursday’s hearing will be provided on the Environment and Public Works Committee’s WebsiteTwitter, and YouTube

Thursday’s hearing on climate and environmental effects from plastics and petrochemical production will feature testimony from stakeholders and experts in the climate, pollution, and plastics fields.

Merkley leads the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act which would reduce plastic production, increase recycling, and protect frontline communities from the burden of toxic emissions from plastic waste by changing the incentives of the industry. The bill would shift the burden of cleanup to the corporations that produced the plastics so they have financial motivation to end the burning and dumping; strengthen environmental justice protections; eliminate waste export loopholes; and extend across the nation existing laws that have been proven to work on the state and local level, among other steps.