Exxon Gets Subpoena From California Over Plastics Pollution
Exxon Mobil Corp was issued a subpoena by California Attorney General Rob Bonta seeking information about the oil giant’s role in a global plastics pollution crisis.
The attorney general said on Thursday that he’s opened a first-of-its-kind investigation into the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries for their role in causing the crisis, while deceiving the public with aggressive promotions of oil-based plastic products.
Even as fossil fuels are being replaced with cleaner sources of energy, oil and petrochemical companies are stepping up efforts to make more plastic, recently investing an additional $208 billion worldwide to do so, Bonta said. Global production has jumped from 1,5 million tons a year in the 1950s to more than 300 million tons now, he said.
The industry has known since the 1970s that recycling plastics wasn’t feasible, Bonta said. Even after decades of separating plastics from waste streams, the recycling rate never got above 9% in the US, Bonta said.
“The remaining 91% is landfilled, incinerated, or released into the environment,” the attorney general said.
California is taking a crucial step toward holding oil companies responsible for the vast volume of plastic trash contaminating the planet but more must be done, said Emily Jeffers from the Centre for Biological Diversity, an nonprofit environmental group.
“The plastics industry is so polluting on so many levels that it just isn’t compatible with preserving crucial ecosystems or a livable climate,” Jeffers said. “We have to stop producing plastic junk and stop building factories that convert fracked natural gas into cheap plastic.” BM
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