Lowenthal, Merkley, Bonamici Lead Bicameral Effort to Push Biden Administration to Tackle Explosion of Plastic Pollution at G7 Summit

June 9, 2021
Press Release
Tackling plastic pollution is an opportunity for America to lead and to protect public health and crucial ecosystems

With a G7 Summit just around the corner, U.S. Representatives Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01), along with Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, are pushing the Biden administration to work toward a global agreement to address marine plastic litter and microplastics.

“Plastic pollution has exploded into a global crisis that threatens our public health, economic security, and the future of our planet. We need bold action to tackle this crisis and we have a unique moment to work with our colleagues around the world to break free from plastic pollution,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “We are writing to encourage your Administration’s full participation in international dialogues to establish a binding global agreement to address plastic pollution.”

“The G7 Leaders’ Summit represents a vital opportunity to demonstrate American leadership on a critical international issue. It is important to address plastic pollution as an environmental, environmental justice, and climate crisis through green recovery efforts as the world aims to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic,” they continued. “We encourage your Administration to participate in discussions to launch a global agreement to address marine plastic litter and microplastics in advance of the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly. We urge your Administration to advocate for a binding agreement that addresses both land- and sea-based sources and looks to upstream solutions for addressing this challenge through source reduction.”

The lawmakers emphasized that this crisis requires American leadership on the international stage, and encouraged the administration to engage in international discussions and implement domestic policies that will effectively minimize our plastic waste.

The letter follows the introduction of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act—legislation led by Lowenthal in the U.S. House of Representatives and Merkley in the U.S. Senate—that outlines the most comprehensive plan ever introduced in Congress to address the plastic pollution crisis that is poisoning our air, water, and land, and disproportionately impacting communities of color and low-income Americans.

Lowenthal, Merkley, and Bonamici were joined in sending the letter by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Angus King (I-ME) in the U.S. Senate, and by Representatives Jake Auchincloss (D-MA-04), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA-44), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), Ed Case (D-HI-01), David N. Cicilline (D-RI-01), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO-05), Steve Cohen (D-TN-09), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA-11), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR-04), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11), Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ-03), Jared Huffman (D-CA-02), Mondaire Jones (D-NY-17), Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), Doris Matsui (D-CA-06), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Grace Meng (D-NY-06), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-00), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01), Mike Quigley (D-IL-05), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-05), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Kim Schrier (D-WA-08), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-03), Darren Soto (D-FL-09), Marilyn Strickland (D-WA-10), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY-03), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13), Paul D. Tonko (D-NY-20), Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15), Juan Vargas (D-CA-51), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY-07), and Peter Welch (D-VT-AL) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Full text of the letter is available here and follows below.