Plastics industry faces crackdown, targets Democrats with mail deemed deceptive

Cheryl Auger told one of Pasadena’s neighbors and friends this month that “a higher tax on plastic products will enrich the profits of businesses without guaranteeing a reduction in plastic waste.”

I didn’t know it at the time, but Auger’s friend was under a plastics industry campaign putting pressure on state legislators to loosen the proposed single-use container restrictions. ballot measure.

“What’s surprising to me is that there is no accountability,” said Auger, a plastic waste activist.

Mailings from a group that calls itself the Environmental Solutions Coalition argue for no reason that a ban on single-use plastics will “have a devastating impact on working families” by increasing consumer costs. What is not mentioned in the mail is that plastics manufacturers and other industries are funding the coalition.

The flyers are all aimed primarily at Democrats in Southern California, and may be an attempt to pressure them to derail the November ballot measure by enacting a weakened bill that the industry will accept.

“I interpret it as a warning to legislators, as a message. “That intention is counterproductive because it makes us work harder to pass meaningful legislation to crack down on plastic pollution.”

In the current legislative session, lawmakers are discussing legislation designed to reduce plastic waste. If the bill is not drafted by June 30th, the matter goes directly to the voters as a ballot measure.

initiative, California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction ActAll single-use plastic packaging and food products used in California must be recyclable, reused, refillable or compostable by 2030. Single-use plastic production should be reduced by 25% by 2030. Program costs are as follows: It is expressly stated that producers and distributors of single-use plastics must bear the cost, and that costs cannot be passed on to consumers.

For decades, American industry has formed a seemingly “grassroots group” to push forward such agendas as lowering taxes and reducing restrictions on tobacco and pollution. groups behind Environmental Solutions Coalition Includes the California Business Roundtable and the American Chemistry Council, which includes plastics manufacturers and oil companies. Coalition lawmakers said they want the matter to be resolved in the legislature.

The Coalition’s mailings are addressed to at least five MPs: Congressmen Gabriel, Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), and Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda). has been sent. Coalition spokeswoman Michael Bustamante said no one spoke before their images were included in the mail.

Holden was unable to be contacted for comment, and Garcia’s office said they were not aware of the flyer.

Irwin said in a statement that he favors a legislative solution to the plastic waste problem but has not yet “taken a stand on single-use plastics initiatives.”

Bauer-Kahan said he had never heard of the Environmental Solutions Coalition and had never spoken to them about any initiative. She advocated reducing the use of single-use plastics, and she has continued to support legislation to “contain plastic pollution,” she said.

Like his colleagues, Gabriel wants the legislature to address the issue, but he described the mailers and blackmail campaigns as “unsettling” and “chaotic”.

Regarding the flyer’s message, he said: “As a pure matter of politics, I think it’s not done very well.” “I don’t know anyone who can figure out exactly what it’s trying to convey.”

Plastic restrictions in California and some other states are gaining momentum due to advances in research into health and environmental impacts.

Plastic never completely decomposes. They just break down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics. These particles often contain harmful chemical additives such as flame retardants or plasticizers. According to the report, humans consume as much microplastics as the value of a credit card each week.

Research over the past year has shown that the presence of these particles human blood, healthy lung tissue and meconium — The first bowel movement of a newborn. They are also found in marine life, marine water, air and soil.

some researchers A project that by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.

Nick Lapis, director of advocacy for Californians Against Waste, said he found what he found revealing that the plastics industry decided to hide behind trade associations and front-line groups instead of speaking directly to voters.

Lapis, a non-profit organization that has advocated for waste and recycling issues since 1977, said, “This kind of deceptive behavior was brought up by the Attorney General exactly a few weeks ago.

Last month, California Attorney General Rob Bonta published the first investigation into how the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries played a role in creating and exacerbating the global crisis of plastic waste pollution. Bonta accused them of “perpetuating the myth that recycling could solve the plastic crisis.”

Bustamante, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Solutions Coalition, also said the flyer’s message couldn’t be summed up succinctly, but said it was aimed at lawmakers in the Los Angeles area who see it as “part of a common-sense coalition.”

He said the mail was sent to the voters of lawmakers who were “historically recorded as paying great attention to the kinds and issues that could increase their costs to voters.”

The leaflet did not explicitly mention any pending legislation or initiatives, but states that “adding billions of dollars in higher costs to support working families is the wrong way to go.”

Auger, a cybersecurity expert who co-founded a refill store in Pasadena to help consumers reduce plastic waste, said he wasn’t completely surprised by the front group’s intimidating tactics. “Since the 1990s, the industry has hampered everything important about plastics,” she said.

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