Washington State Bans Polystyrene Foam, Limits Single-Use Plastic at Restaurants
On May 17, 2021 Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5022 into law, limiting the use of unnecessary single-use plastic across Washington state. The new law — introduced by Sen. Mona Das — bans the manufacture, sale and distribution of certain expanded polystyrene products, including packing peanuts, foam plastic coolers and foodware (i.e., cups, plate, bowls and clamshell containers). It also requires dining establishments to omit single-use plastic utensils, straws, cold-beverage cup lids and condiment packaging unless requested by customers — this applies to dine-in, takeout or delivery. Finally, the legislation establishes post-consumer recycled-content standards for plastic beverage bottles, personal care products, home cleaning products and trash bags.
President Biden to Pause Leasing for New Offshore Drilling
President Joe Biden paused all federal offshore oil and gas leasing, following grassroots campaigning by Oceana to protect U.S. waters from the expansion of offshore drilling. President Biden’s action comes nearly 11 years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, where more than 200 million gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. The disaster reduced total sales in the seafood industry by as much as $950 million, devastated many coastal economies dependent on tourism, and led to hard-working Americans losing their jobs and livelihoods. This victory ensures our coastal communities have greater protection from another disaster, and it would not have been possible without Oceana and our many allies. The campaign won support from every East and West Coast governor; more than 390 local municipalities; over 2,300 local, state, and federal bipartisan officials; and alliances representing more than 55,000 businesses. Stopping new leasing for offshore oil and gas – if made permanent – could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas from being emitted and forestall more than $720 billion in damages to people, property, and the environment. The protections will also safeguard the U.S. clean coast economy, which supports around 3.3 million American jobs and $250 billion in GDP through activities like tourism, recreation, and fishing. Oceana continues to campaign for permanent protections of U.S. waters from expanded drilling.