Statement: California Attorney General announces investigation into plastic producers for role in causing global plastic crisis

Media Contacts

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced on Thursday an investigation into the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries for their alleged role in causing and exacerbating the global plastics pollution crisis. The attorney general’s investigation will 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.”

Jenn Engstrom, State Director of CALPIRG, and Laura Deehan, State Director of Environment California, issued the following statements: 

“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 CALPIRG State Director Jenn Engstrom. “Instead plastic waste ends up clogging our landfills and polluting our environment where it degrades into smaller pieces. Micro-plastics have been found in our blood, potentially exposing us to harmful chemicals and additives. I 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.”

“Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our environment for hundreds of years,” said Environment California State Director Laura Deehan. “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.”