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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Groups Promote Bill to Reduce Plastic Pollution

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Thursday, May 20, 2021   

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Conservation groups are calling for passage of a bill to phase out single-use plastics.

The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act would hold companies accountable for the full life cycle of their products and packaging and expand reuse and refill programs.

Heidi Harmon, mayor of San Luis Obispo and co-chair of the California chapter of Elected Officials to Protect America, said less than 10% of plastic has ever been recycled. Most of it goes from our recycling bins to the incinerator, the landfill and ultimately the oceans.

"The industry conned us into believing that plastics were being recycled," Harmon asserted. "And as a result, since 2005 our plastic waste has doubled. At this rate, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, by weight, by 2050, which is crazy."

Opponents of the bill argued it puts too big a burden on industry and could cause prices to rise. According to the 5 Gyres Institute, nearly two-thirds of plastic becomes waste and by 2050 global production is projected to triple, accounting for 20% of oil consumption. American companies ExxonMobil and Dow are the two largest plastic producers in the world.

David Levine, president of the American Sustainable Business Council, said federal legislation is needed to spur companies to create truly recyclable products and packaging.

"We can overhaul how we design, manufacture, distribute our products, transitioning from single-use and toxic chemicals to a circular economy, a sustainable economy that creates new business opportunities and more jobs," Levine contended.

There are health implications as well. Last year, for the first time, researchers in Italy found microplastics in the placentas of unborn babies. Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate but have yet to receive a hearing or a vote.

Disclosure: Elected Officials to Protect America contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, and Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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