PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution Tuesday stating their intent to pass a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags, were it not for a state law preempting local governments from doing so. The resolution, introduced last week by Councilmember Erika Strassburger, means Pennsylvania’s two largest cities could soon join forces to protect the Commonwealth from plastic pollution and the health and environmental degradation it causes. In March, Philadelphia, along with the boroughs of West Chester and Narberth, and Lower Merion Township, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the General Assembly’s preemption law. The passage of Councilmember Strassburger’s resolution opens the door for the City of Pittsburgh to file a legal motion in support of that suit.
PennEnvironment’s Conservation Associate Faran Savitz released the following statement:
“The message from City Council today was clear: let us ban plastic bags. Pittsburgh now joins their voice to other cities and towns calling directly on Harrisburg. If the General Assembly won't take action to fight plastic pollution, our local governments will. We applaud Councilmember Strassburger and all the members of Council for their leadership on this issue.”
“Single-use plastic is the most common type of litter in Pennsylvania and it poses a danger to our rivers, streams, and wildlife. In fact, PennEnvironment recently found microplastics in every Pennsylvania waterway we studied, including each of the Three Rivers. It’s heartening to see our local leaders take the science to heart and act on it.”
“Our municipalities must be empowered to address the issue of plastic pollution when the state legislature won’t. This controversial, anti-environmental policy that strips control away from local officials must be overturned.”
PennEnvironment is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.PennEnvironment.org.