June 30, 2020

Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act Highlighted in House Democrats’ Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America

Legislation led by Udall, Lowenthal to tackle common forms of plastic pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions part of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’ newly released action framework

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), announced that their landmark legislation, the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act, is highlighted in the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’s Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis was created by Speaker Pelosi at the outset of the 116th session of Congress to make science-based policy recommendations to the standing committees of jurisdiction on how to solve the climate crisis. Today, they released their roadmap for Congress to build a prosperous, clean energy economy that values workers, advances environmental justice, and is prepared to meet the challenges of the climate crisis.

“This is a milestone moment in the work to tackle the plastic pollution crisis that is gripping our planet. The inclusion of our landmark legislation in the Select Committee’s action plan is a signal that momentum is building behind a truly comprehensive approach to break free from plastic pollution and address the devastating climate effects of out-of-control plastic production,” Udall and Lowenthal said. “Cradle to grave, the life cycle of plastic is greenhouse gas intensive. Extracting fossil fuels to make plastic produces greenhouse gases and landfilling or incinerating the waste creates emissions. And we know that disadvantaged communities and communities of color too often endure the worst effects of toxic pollution from plastic production. Reducing our dependence on plastic and reining in plastic production from fossil fuels must be integral in our strategy to halt climate change. We have a responsibility to act now before the overwhelming public health, environmental, climate and economic effects of plastic pollution reach the point of no return.” 

The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act introduced this year by Udall, Lowenthal along with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), would phase out unnecessary single-use plastic products, hold corporations accountable for wasteful products, reduce wasteful packaging, and reform our broken waste and recycling collection system.

The Senate Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). 

In the House, it is cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.-44), Ed Case (D-Hawaii-1), Stephen Cohen (D-Tenn.-9), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.-11), Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.-16), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.-1), Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.-20), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.-2), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.-7), Rohit Khanna (D-Calif.-17), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.-13), Mike Levin (D-Calif.-49), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.-33), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.-4), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.-6), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.-1), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.-20), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine-1), Michael Quigley (D-Ill.-5), Jamin Raskin (D-Md.-8), Harley Rouda (D-Calif.-48), John Sarbanes (D-Md.-3),  Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.-9), Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.-3), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.-13), Nydia M. Velazquez (D-N.Y.-7), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.-43), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.-1).

The full roadmap from the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis can be found HERE. 

The full text of the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act can be found HERE. A summary and extensive background materials can be found HERE.