Washington (March 20, 2024) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02), who led their colleagues today, in a letter to encourage U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to push for decisive measures in addressing plastic production at the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC)’s current session next month. The lawmakers emphasized the imminent danger plastic poses to public health, national security, and the planet's future throughout its life-cycle and advocated for a vigorous stance in the negotiations.

“The international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution is an unprecedented opportunity for the world to come together to address our plastic pollution crisis and our climate crisis in tandem. We ask you to use U.S. influence to support a commensurately ambitious agreement that will address all aspects of the plastic pollution crisis enabling Congress to then pass implementing legislation,” wrote the lawmakers.

The letter was signed by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representatives Ro Khanna (CA-17), Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-05), Nanette Díaz Barragán (CA-44), Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Katie Porter (CA-47), Delia C. Ramirez (IL-03), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Seth Magaziner (RI-02), Adam Schiff (CA-30), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), David Trone (MD-06), Ed Case (HI-01), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Jerrold Nadler (NY-12), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Eric Swalwell (CA-14), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), and Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38).

The lawmakers called on the Biden administration to demonstrate leadership and ambition in addressing plastic pollution during the INC session by endorsing the following objectives in negotiations:

  • A meaningful instrument must include binding production limits.
  • Rules of procedure must be adopted that stop a small number of plastic-producing countries from undermining the rest of the world’s efforts to address the plastic production crisis, and;
  • Parties to the agreement must be allowed the tools to protect themselves and their economies.

A quote sheet from organizations and frontline communities supporting the letter can be found here.

The full text of the letter can be found here.