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A Voice for our Ocean

PRESS BRIEFING: Major Regional and National NGOs Oppose Illinois Chemical Recycling Bill, Call for Urgent Action

Illinois Environmental Council, Alliance for the Great Lakes and Ocean Conservancy to hold briefing to discuss environment and health risks of proposed plant

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CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), Alliance for the Great Lakes (AGL) and Ocean Conservancy invite members of the press to join for an hour-long briefing on HB 1616, which recently passed the House Energy & Environment committee and will soon be debated on the Illinois house floor. The proposed bill would bypass IL EPA permitting and review process and allow for the building of a chemical recycling plant near Joliet, IL, a community already impacted by concentrated levels of unhealthy air pollution.

The petrochemical industry is lobbying hard across the country to build chemical recycling plants, which they claim turn hard-to-recycle plastics back into monomers – the basic building blocks of plastics. However, the reality is that pyrolysis, gasification and similar chemical recycling technologies are much closer to incineration in that they all result in burning plastics to create energy. These “advanced recycling” technologies create serious environmental and social harms while distracting us from implementing much-needed systemic fixes to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics and improve waste management and recycling systems.

  • Dr. Anja Brandon is Associate Director of U.S. Plastics Policy at Ocean Conservancy and an environmental engineer who has co-authored both state and federal legislation regulating plastics.
  • Andrea Densham, Senior Strategic Advisor, Alliance for the Great Lakes
  • Jen Walling, Executive Director, Illinois Environmental Council
WHAT: Press briefing on HB1616, as well as the plastics and chemical recycling landscape in Illinois, the Great Lakes region, and beyond.  
WHEN: Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 11:00 CT/12:00 ET
TO REGISTER: Members of the media may register here and will have the opportunity to ask questions in real-time.


Ocean Conservancy fact sheets on chemical recycling can be found here.


Dr. Anja Brandon

Dr. Anja Brandon serves as Ocean Conservancy’s Associate Director of U.S. Plastics Policy, working to advance plastic policy solutions at the state and federal level. Most recently Anja was part of the team of environmental advocates that helped draft and pass the strongest plastics legislation in the country, SB 54 in California. Prior to joining Ocean Conservancy, she served in the office of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley as the lead policy advisor on issues including plastics, ocean and water pollution, and toxic pollutants. She earned her doctorate in environmental engineering at Stanford University, focused on understanding plastic waste management challenges and developing novel methods to break down common plastics. In addition to being an invited speaker at national and international conferences , Dr. Brandon has been an invited lecturer teaching about plastic pollution and policy solutions at universities including Stanford, Oregon State University and Bennington College.

Andrea Densham

Andrea Densham serves as Senior Strategic Advisor to Alliance for the Great Lakes, working to advance sustainable environmental policy across the Great Lakes basin.  Andrea is an environmental Great Lakes policy content expert with over two and half decades of experience working with government leaders across the Great Lakes basin in state capitals, Congress, and bi-nationally.  In addition to successfully advocating for coastal restoration and climate solutions in the Great Lakes, she has designed and established innovative programs, regulations, and research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fish, and Wildlife Service, as well as advancing public health initiatives within the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Andrea earned her master’s in Political Science from the University of Chicago and has lectured at numerous Universities across the region.

Jen Walling

Jen Walling has served as the Executive Director for the Illinois Environmental Council since January of 2011, where she oversees the strategic direction and management of the organization and lobbies decision makers on environmental issues. She has drafted, negotiated, lobbied and passed hundreds of bills in Springfield while working to build the power, expertise and relationships of the entire environmental community. Jen is dedicated to building the power of Illinois’ environmental community to secure policy outcomes that protect the environment.


Since 1975, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) has worked to safeguard Illinois—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends by building power for people and the environment. Representing over 100 environmental organizations in the state, IEC carries out its mission to advance public policies that create healthy environments across Illinois through education, advocacy and movement building.


The Alliance for the Great Lakes is a nonpartisan nonprofit working across the region to protect our most precious resource: the fresh, clean, and natural waters of the Great Lakes. For more information, visit 


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

Media Contact

Madeline Black




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