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Anti-Plastics Activist Reckons with Reality at Senate Hearing

Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) had some pointed questions for an environmental activist, who said she wished the plastics industry would end.

Norbert Sparrow

June 19, 2023

At the US Senate Environment Committee hearing on June 14, Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) had some pointed questions for environmental activist Angelle Bradford, who said she wished the plastics industry would end. “What’s going to replace your glasses?” he asked. “You know they’re made of plastic,” said Mullin. To which, Bradford replied, “Maybe. I don’t know what they’re made of.” Mullin then asked about her water bottle, which she said was not made of plastic. “But the lid is,” replied Mullin. Bradford seemed taken aback.

He then noted the water station where she filled her bottle, the pipes that delivered the water to the fountain, her iPhone, the shoes and clothes she and her acolytes wore to the hearing, the cars they drive — all of which contain some plastics.

The point, said Mullin, is that it’s easy to say you want to eliminate plastics, but what is the solution?

At the hearing, a number of other witnesses added their perspectives rooted in reality.

You can’t reduce the number of plastic components in cars. In fact, they will have to increase to comply with mandated mileage standards, said one speaker.

Donna Jackson of Project 21 — National Center for Public Policy and Research pushed back on the environmental justice agenda, which does more harm than good for low-income communities, in her view. Manufacturing is a proven path to the middle class, and preventing industrial development in those communities is harmful to residents’ well being. “Poverty destroys lives. We can’t just say we’re going to take out an industry and leave people poorer than they were. . . . We need to take into account the human loss of life, not just the environmental impacts.”

Watch this six-minute excerpt from the Senate hearing, courtesy of Forbes. It’s powerful stuff.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree. Reach him at [email protected].

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