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April 25, 2023

Senate Committee Will Hold Hearing on Impacts of Plastic Production and Disposal on Environmental Justice Communities

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on April 27, 2023, on “Impacts of Plastic Production and Disposal on Environmental Justice Communities.” Witnesses will include:

  • Philip Landrigan, M.D., Director, Global Public Health Program and Global Observatory on Planetary Health, Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society;
  • Sharon Lavigne, Founder, Rise St. James, Earth Island Institute;
  • Chris Tandazo, Community Organizer, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance;
  • Jennifer Hernandez, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP; and
  • Kevin Sunday, Director of Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

Last week, Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Chair of the Committee and Co-Chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ranking Member of the Committee, and John Boozman (R-AR), also a member of the Committee, reintroduced two pieces of bipartisan legislation focused on improving recycling and composting systems. According to the Committee’s April 19, 2023, press release, the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act would improve the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to gather data on recycling systems and explore opportunities for implementing a national composting strategy. The Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act of 2023 would allow EPA to create a pilot program to improve recycling services in underserved areas. The press release notes that last Congress, Carper, Capito, and Boozman led the Senate to pass both bills by unanimous consent.
On April 21, 2023, EPA announced the release of a Draft National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution. EPA identified three key objectives for the strategy: reducing pollution during plastic production; improving post-use materials management; and preventing trash and micro/nanoplastics from entering waterways and removing escaped trash from the environment. Publication of a Federal Register notice announcing the availability of the document will begin a 45-day comment period. More information will be available in a forthcoming memorandum.