Plastic is not a plant-based renewable fuel. Right?
This seems obvious. And yet, EPA has quietly inserted waste plastic into a program designed to fast-track the production of renewable fuels from plants, algae, and other biological sources. What???
EPA’s renewable fuel standard program was created to reduce climate pollution and our reliance on imported oil. Why is EPA calling plastic trash a renewable resource?
Plastics are made from oil, gas, and coal. It’s true that these fossil fuels were once plants and animals, but that was hundreds of millions of years ago. While plastic trash is surely ubiquitous, it is absurd to call it a renewable resource.
Burning plastic to make fuel produces dioxins, heavy metals, and other hazardous air pollutants as well as climate pollution.
In classifying waste plastic as a renewable energy source for its biofuel standard, EPA is putting communities at risk. EPA has given approval for a Chevron refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi, to make jet fuel using oil derived from incinerated plastic. Air pollution produced from this fuel is so toxic that 1 in 4 people exposed to it over a lifetime could develop cancer from it—an extraordinarily high cancer risk.
This is unacceptable.
We are disappointed by the Biden EPA’s cold-hearted calculation. Pascagoula is a community in which nearly one quarter of the population lives in poverty and more than half are Black or Brown people. EPA’s decision is environmental injustice at its worst. EPA must immediately rescind its approval of the use of plastics-based fuel at the Chevron refinery.
If we don’t stop all of this plastic nonsense in its tracks right now, you can bet that refineries across the country will start getting into the business of burning plastic and poisoning our air, water, and land. Our children will be left to deal with the repercussions.