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Faran Savitz,
PennEnvironment

Statement: Pittsburgh City Council takes crucial first step to eliminate plastic bag pollution

For Immediate Release

PITTSBURGH -- Pennsylvania’s two largest cities could soon join forces to protect the Commonwealth from plastic pollution and the health and environmental degradation it causes. Councilmember Erika Strassburger introduced a resolution Tuesday announcing the Pittsburgh City Council’s intent to pass a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags, were it not for a state law preempting local governments from doing so. 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 would open 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:

“We applaud Councilmember Strassburger for her leadership. 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.” 

“Passing this resolution sends a clear message to our leaders in Harrisburg: if the General Assembly won't take action to fight plastic pollution, cities have the will, and the state government needs to give them the way.” 

“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.”