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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Report: Fast-growing plastics industry major source of air pollution

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   

The plastics industry is releasing illegal pollution but rarely faces discipline for environmental permit violations, according to a new report by the Environmental Integrity Project.

Companies producing plastics emitted nearly 63 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2021, about as much as 15 coal-fired power plants.

Alexandra Shaykevich, research manager for the Environmental Integrity Project, pointed out while many people and industries are now trying to minimize their use of fossil fuels, the plastics industry is moving in the opposite direction. She said people may not be aware plastic is produced primarily from oil and natural gas.

"It's been expanding at an exponential rate and causing a cascade of environmental problems, not just greenhouse gas pollution, but also litter," Shaykevich explained. "A lot of these products, they can't be recycled and so essentially, they wind up littering our oceans and our waterways."

The toxic chemicals emitted during plastics production have been linked to asthma, bronchitis and cancer. Nationwide, more than two-thirds of those living within three miles of the factories manufacturing the main ingredients in plastic products are people of color.

Shaykevich noted many plastic plants built or expanded over the last decade have received tax breaks or subsidies from state and local governments worth nearly $9 billion. She added data show the trend is likely to continue.

"Our report identified at least 10 new plants and 23 expansion projects that existing facilities have proposed," Shaykevich outlined. "They could add an additional 35 million tons of greenhouse gases per year, if those plants move forward."

One of the expanded plants is located in Ohio. According to the report, the new projects would produce ethylene or polyethylene but the industry is also planning to increase production of "PET," the type of plastic primarily used for packaging.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.


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