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Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act Gathers Momentum!

Reps. Mike Levin (CA-49) and Mary Peltola (AK-At Large) introduced the Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act today to address plastic pollution in our nation’s waterways and along our coasts. 

The problem with pellets

This bill would close an existing gap in regulations by requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a rule prohibiting the discharge of plastic pellets and other types of plastic into our nation’s waters. Currently, EPA does not have an established federal rule to address plastic pellets specifically, allowing plastic manufactures to spill these tiny, toxic items into America's waterways without being held accountable.

Research shows that, once in our ocean and waterways, plastic pellets absorb toxic chemicals and attract harmful bacteria that threaten marine life and can even contaminate the food humans eat. The Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act would prevent further ecological and public health harm from plastic pollution by requiring the EPA to issue a ruling addressing plastic pellets.

Surfrider's support

During our recent 8th annual Coastal Recreation Hill Day, Surfrider educated more than 140 offices on the issue of microplastics, including how pre-production plastic pellets plague our coastlines due to insufficient regulation of plastic production, manufacturing, and transport facilities that release trillions of these plastic particles into the environment each year. Surfrider is a strong supporter of the Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act, a straightforward common-sense bill that would simply prohibit the release of these plastic pellets from industry.

In response to the bill's introduction, Jennifer Savage, Surfrider’s Senior Manager, Plastic Pollution Initiative noted, “For too long, our nation’s beaches, wetlands and waterways have been smothered in small plastic pellets as a result of pollution from the plastic production industry. The Surfrider Foundation strongly supports the Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act, a simple, straightforward bill that will close a loophole and hold polluters accountable for the litter they create in our coastal environment."

The House bill, HR 7634, compliments S 2337 by Senator Dick Durbin in July, 2023. 

From the bill's sponsors

“My district is home to a beautiful coastline that supports the local economy, bolsters tourism, protects wildlife, and is enjoyed by residents and countless visitors,” said Rep. Levin. “Pollution caused by plastic pellets is a major threat to our waters and our overall health. We must do everything we can to protect our oceans and ensure their survival for future generations to enjoy.”

“Alaskan communities are only healthy when our water is healthy. From crab to kelp and salmon, Alaskans’ meals and paychecks rely on unpolluted water,” said Rep. Peltola. “Most of the plastic found in the Arctic is no larger than the size of a grain of rice. Microplastics, in particular, are so widespread that they’ve been discovered at the North Pole in the muscle and blubber of walruses harvested by Alaskan hunters. The Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act is an important step in reducing how much plastic enters the environment and waterways.”

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