Groups call for Attorney General Healey to join California investigation into plastics, fossil fuel industries

For Immediate Release

BOSTON – Massachusetts consumer and environmental advocacy groups are calling for Attorney General Maura Healey to join a new investigation launched by California Attorney General Rob Bonta. On Thursday, Attorney General Bonta announced an investigation into the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries for their alleged role in causing and exacerbating the global plastics pollution crisis. The California attorney general’s investigation aims to examine the industries' efforts to deceive the public, stating that these industries have “aggressively promoted the development of oil-based plastic products and campaigned to minimize the public’s understanding of the harmful consequences of these products.”

As part of the investigation, the attorney general issued a subpoena to ExxonMobil, stating the oil giant is “a major source of global plastics pollution.”

Calling for Massachusetts to join the investigation, experts from MASSPIRG and Environment Massachusetts issued the following statement:

“Despite the commonly held assumption that throwing plastic in the blue bin can solve our growing plastic waste crisis, the sad truth is that most - over 90% - of plastic is never recycled,” said MASSPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz. “Instead plastic waste ends up clogging our landfills and polluting our environment. Micro-plastics have been found in our blood, potentially exposing us to harmful chemicals and additives. We commend Attorney General Bonta for taking action to hold plastic producers accountable for misleading the public into believing we can recycle our way out of this crisis. We hope Attorney General Healey will join this investigation and bring her office’s resources to bear on this important issue.”

“Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our environment for hundreds of years,” said Environment Massachusetts State Director Ben Hellerstein. “For a bird, fish or sea turtle, it’s easy to mistake a small piece of plastic for food—especially when there are millions of pieces of plastic floating in our rivers and ocean. Too often ingesting this plastic is fatal for wildlife. It’s heartbreaking to think that marine life and natural ecosystems are paying the price for this unchecked plastic waste crisis. Thank you to Attorney General Bonta for putting wildlife ahead of the oil and chemical industry’s profits. It’s our hope that Attorney General Healey will join this fight.”