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A Voice for our Ocean

STATEMENT: Omnibus Includes Victories on Fisheries Management, Against Chemical Recycling

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday afternoon, Congress passed a year-end spending bill for fiscal year 2023. Among the provisions included in the over 4,000-page bill were several key ocean wins, including more funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other environmental agencies than any other Congress; passage of the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act; passage of the Fishery Resource Disasters Improvement Act; and more. Jeff Watters, Ocean Conservancy’s Vice President of External Affairs released the following statement:

“Ocean Conservancy applauds Congress’s decision to pass an omnibus spending bill, rather than kicking the can down the road with a stopgap Continuing Resolution. While this omnibus spending bill does contain some deeply flawed provisions, the investments in NOAA and other key environmental agencies are good for the ocean, good for coastal communities, good for the climate and good for our economy.  We urge Congress to continue working to support the ocean in 2023.” 

Another key win in the bill is report language highlighting the concerns with chemical recycling technologies that Ocean Conservancy initiated and advocated for earlier this year alongside other environmental and environmental justice advocates. Specifically, the language requests that the EPA continue to regulate gasification and pyrolysis – two of the most common forms of chemical recycling technologies being pushed by industry – as “municipal waste combustion units,” despite an earlier move by the Trump administration to strip this provision from the Clean Air Act. The language reflects mountains of evidence in finding that pyrolysis and gasification do not recover plastics and therefore do not support a circular plastics economy. Dr. Anja Brandon, Associate Director of U.S. Plastics Policy at Ocean Conservancy, released the following statement:

“This boils down to Congress formally recognizing that harmful chemical recycling technologies are not true recycling and do not move us closer to a circular plastics economy. These technologies emit dangerous greenhouse gasses and toxic chemicals while enabling industry to continue unfettered plastics production. To keep plastics out of our ocean, we need to make less plastic, and better recycle what we already have; expanding chemical recycling will kill any chance we have of accomplishing either.”



Jeff Watters and Dr. Anja Brandon are available for interviews by request. 

  • A fact sheet on plastics recycling and chemical recycling is available here.
  • The full text of the included report language can be found in House Report 117-140, and reads:
    • Chemical Recycling Technologies. — The Committee is concerned about the growth of chemical recycling technologies, specifically pyrolysis and gasification units, for the treatment of plastic waste. These chemical recycling technologies do not result in the recovery of plastic materials to advance a circular economy and the facilities contribute to climate change and impose disproportionate health burdens on the communities where they are located. The Committee encourages the Agency to consider the emissions, disproportionate impacts, and lack of circularity in its ongoing rulemaking on the regulatory treatment of gasification and pyrolysis units and encourages the Agency to maintain regulating these technologies as municipal waste combustion units defined under the Clean Air Act Section 129.
  • The above language is included in the omnibus via the joint explanatory statement for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Service, the Indian Health Service, and related agencies for fiscal year 2023 (Division G). All other explanatory statements related to the omnibus can be found here.

About Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

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