Advocacy

Learn more below about the bills we are advocating for at the State and Federal level this legislative session.

Who’s Your Representative?

Learn who your state/district representatives are below and contact them to support a bill you care about! Your representatives represent YOU. You vote them in AND you can vote them out. Use your voice and let them know what you want.

Maryland:

2021 Term: January 13th (90 days straight through).

  • Organization Sign-on for Support of The Plastic Reduction Act (CB13-2021)
    • Status: Passed!
    • Description: The Howard County Plastic Reduction Act (CB13-2021) takes a small step in addressing the plastic pollution crisis. Beginning on January 1, 2022, this bill will ban plastic straws and stirrers, and make all other straws, stirrers, plastic cutlery, and condiment packets available to customers by request only or available in a self-service area.
  • Animal Cosmetics Testing Bill (SB 282 / HB0611)
    • Status: Passed both chambers and on to Governor.
    • Description: End animal testing for cosmetics – Rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs continue to suffer and die in experiments to test cosmetics like lipstick, deodorant and shampoo. Legislation to make it illegal to conduct cosmetic animal testing or sell cosmetic products that have been newly tested on animals in Maryland unanimously passed the state Senate last year, but did not pass the House before the session ended abruptly due to Covid-19. The bill is now under consideration again for the 2021 Session.
  • Environmental Justice Commission Reform (SB674 / HB1207)
    • Status: Passed both chambers and on to Governor.
    • Brief Description: Altering the membership of the Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities; requiring the membership of the Commission to reflect the diversity of the State to the extent practicable; specifying the term of certain members; requiring the Department of the Environment to provide a new member with an orientation reviewing environmental justice issues in the State; altering the manner in which a chair is chosen for the Commission; requiring the Commission to meet at least six times per calendar year; etc.
  • Solid Waste Management – Organics Recycling and Waste Diversion – Food Residuals (HB264 / SB0483)
    • Status: Passed both chambers and on to Governor.
    • Description: Requiring a certain person that generates food residuals to separate the food residuals from other solid waste and ensure that the food residuals are diverted from final disposal in a refuse disposal system in a certain manner; applying the requirements of the Act, beginning in certain years, to certain persons that generate certain amounts of food residuals; authorizing a person experiencing undue hardship because of the costs of diverting food residuals to apply to the Department of the Environment for a certain waiver; etc.
  • Incineration is Not Recycling (HB0280)
    • Status: Passed both chambers and on to Governor.
    • Description: Altering the definition of “recyclable materials” under the Maryland Recycling Act to exclude incinerator ash; and repealing the authority of a county to utilize a resource recovery facility to meet 5% of the waste reduction required to be achieved through recycling in the county’s recycling plan.
  • Organics Diversion/Composting Legislation – Residential (HB248)
    • Status: Passed both chambers and on to Governor.
    • Description: Prohibiting a recorded covenant or restriction, a provision in a declaration, or a provision in the bylaws or rules of a condominium or a homeowners association from restricting or prohibiting a certain owner from composting organic waste materials for personal or household use under certain circumstances or contracting with a private entity for the collection of organic waste materials for composting at a composting facility; etc.
  • The Transit and Investment Act/MTA Funding Bill (HB0114SB0199)
    • Status: Passed both chambers and on to Governor.
    • Description: Requiring the Governor to include certain appropriations in the State budget from the Transportation Trust Fund to the Maryland Transit Administration for certain operating and capital needs in certain fiscal years; authorizing the reduction of certain appropriations under certain circumstances; requiring that certain capital appropriations be in addition to capital funds appropriated for the Purple Line; requiring the Administration to submit a certain report annually; declaring the intent of the General Assembly; etc.
  • Agriculture – Neonicotinoid Pesticides – Sale and Storage (HB0208SB0375)
    • Status: Passed both chambers and on to Governor.
    • Description: Support Fixing the Pollinator Protection Act: Banning neonics protects our bees at a time when U.S. beekeepers have lost over 40% of their colonies. The Maryland state legislature did just that in 2016 with bipartisan support, but retail stores are using a loophole to keep selling bee-killing neonics to consumers, even though it is illegal for consumers to use them.  Let’s fix the bill once and for all this General Assembly! 
    • Restricting a person that sells a neonicotinoid pesticide under certain provisions of law to selling a neonicotinoid pesticide only to a certain certified applicator or farmer; and requiring a person selling a neonicotinoid pesticide to store each neonicotinoid pesticide behind the counter and in a manner that is inaccessible to customers.
  • Public Health – Cosmetic Products – Ingredient Prohibition (HB0643)
    • Status: Passed both chambers and on to Governor.
    • Description: Ban 12 of the most toxic chemicals from being used in cosmetics and personal care products in Maryland. These “Toxic Twelve” ingredients include mercury, three types of formaldehyde, some of the most toxic parabens and phthalates, and PFAS.  The European Union and other countries have long prohibited these chemicals and most major retailers in Maryland have already banned or restricted their use in the cosmetics and personal care products they sell. The bill is identical to legislation that passed unanimously in California last year with the support of major industry stakeholders.  We have collaborated with Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Personal Care Products Council (the trade group that represents the major cosmetics and personal care brands) to spearhead this effort in Maryland and both groups will be testifying in support of the bill next week.
  • Solid Waste Management – Prohibition on Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere (HB391)
    • Status: Passed both chambers and on to Governor.
    • Brief Description: Prohibiting a person who is at least 13 years old, a corporation, a partnership, an association, a nonprofit entity, the State, or any unit or political subdivision of the State from knowingly and intentionally releasing, or causing to be released, or organizing the release of, a balloon into the atmosphere, with certain exceptions; requiring a certain unit, officer, or official of a local government with delegated enforcement authority to report certain violations; establishing a civil penalty of $250 for a violation of the Act; etc.
  • Electricity – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard – Qualifying Biomass (SB0065)
    • Status: Passed both chambers and on to Governor.
    • Description: Altering the definition of “qualifying biomass” for purposes of excluding energy derived from certain material from being eligible for meeting certain Tier 1 obligations under the renewable energy portfolio standard; providing that existing obligations or contract rights may not be impaired by the Act; and applying the Act to all renewable energy portfolio standard compliance years beginning January 1, 2022, or later.
  • Climate Solutions Now Act (SB414)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Requiring the State to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 60% from 2006 levels by 2030; requiring the State to achieve net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2045; requiring the Maryland Department of Labor to adopt regulations establishing certain energy conservation requirements for certain buildings by July 1, 2022; establishing a goal of planting and helping to maintain in the State 5,000,000 sustainable trees of species native to the State by the end of 2030; terminating certain provisions of the Act; etc.
  • Prohibition on the Chemical Conversion of Plastic (HB0021)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Altering the definition of recycling to exclude certain chemical conversion processes, pyrolysis, hydropyrolysis, methanolysis, gasification, enzymatic breakdown, or similar processes as determined by the Department of the Environment; prohibiting a person from building in the State a facility that converts plastic to fuel through a certain chemical conversion process; and authorizing the Department of the Environment to adopt regulations to implement certain provisions of the Act.
  • Facilitating University Transformations by Unifying Reductions in Emissions (FUTURE) Act (HB803SB835)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Requiring each public senior higher education institution to be carbon neutral for certain emissions on or before certain dates; specifying certain requirements that a certain public senior higher education institution must meet in order to achieve the carbon neutral requirements under the Act; authorizing a certain public senior higher education institution to use carbon offsets that do not meet the requirements of the Act under certain circumstances; etc.
  • PFAS Protection Act (SB195HB022) (Petition)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Prohibiting, on or after January 1, 2022, a person from using, manufacturing, or knowingly selling or distributing certain fire-fighting foam that contains intentionally added PFAS chemicals in the State; prohibiting, on or after January 1, 2022, a person from manufacturing, selling, or distributing a certain rug or carpet in the State; prohibiting, on or after January 1, 2022, a manufacturer or distributor from manufacturing, selling, or distributing certain food packaging in the State; etc.
  • Plastic Bag Reduction Act (HB0314)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: This bill would ban the use and distribution of plastic bags (less than 4 millimeters thick) as well as “compostable” plastic bags, and will apply to ALL retailers, providing for only a few exemptions for uses such as deli meat, produce, newspapers, dry cleaning and fresh flowers. Enactment of jurisdiction-specific plastic bag bans (including Baltimore City’s in 2020, temporarily delayed) have created a patchwork of policies statewide. This bill would create continuity among jurisdictions and reduce plastic pollution statewide.
  • Consumer Protection – Right to Repair (HB0084 / SB0412)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Requiring an original equipment manufacturer to make available, on fair and reasonable terms, certain materials or updates to an independent repair provider or owner of digital electronic equipment; providing that a violation of certain provisions of the Act is an unfair, abusive, or deceptive trade practice and subject to certain enforcement and penalty provisions; applying the Act prospectively; etc.
  • Climate Crisis and Education Act (CCEA) (HB0033SB0076)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Establishing a Climate Crisis Initiative in the Department of the Environment for certain purposes; establishing a greenhouse gas reduction target of 60% from 2006 levels by 2030 and net-zero by 2045; establishing a Climate Crisis Council to develop a plan to reach the reduction targets and submit it to the General Assembly by December 31, 2022; requiring the Council to have the plan verified in a certain manner; requiring a greenhouse gas pollution fee on all fossil fuels brought into the State for combustion in the State; etc.
  • Maryland Paint Stewardship (HB127)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Requiring certain producers or a representative organization to submit a plan for the establishment of a Paint Stewardship Program to the Department of the Environment on or before January 1, 2022, and in accordance with certain requirements; requiring the Department to review and approve certain plans, including a certain assessment, submitted in accordance with the Paint Stewardship Program; prohibiting the sale of certain architectural paint under certain circumstances on a certain date; etc.
  • Environment – Containers, and Paper Products – Producer Responsibility (HB036)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Requiring, by October 1, 2022, a producer of certain packaging, containers, and paper products to individually or as part of a stewardship organization submit a covered materials and products stewardship plan to the Department of the Environment for approval; prohibiting, on or after a October 1, 2024, a producer of covered materials and products from selling or distributing covered materials and products unless the producer individually or as part of a stewardship organization has an approved stewardship plan; etc.
  • Federal Clean Water Act – Authority of State (HB0427SB0540)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Prohibiting the State from entering into an agreement that waives the State’s authority under § 401 of the federal Clean Water Act as part of exercising the State’s authority and carrying out the State’s duties under the federal Clean Water Act and State law, including the State’s authority and duties related to the federal relicensing of the Conowingo Dam.
  • Single-Use Plastics By Request (HB0069)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Prohibiting, beginning January 1, 2022, a food service business from providing certain single-use food or beverage products to a certain customer unless requested by the customer; requiring a food service business to maintain a limited supply of certain single-use food and beverage products for certain customers; prohibiting, beginning January 1, 2024, an owner, an operator, or a manager of a lodging establishment with 51 or more rooms from providing certain personal cleansing products in small plastic bottles; etc.
  • Beverage Container Deposit Program (HB0099)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Requiring the Department of the Environment to establish a beverage container deposit program on or before September 1, 2022; establishing the Advisory Commission to Develop a Beverage Container Deposit Program; requiring the Advisory Commission to develop a framework for a beverage container deposit program; requiring the Advisory Commission to report its framework and recommendations to certain members and committees of the General Assembly by December 31, 2021; etc

Virginia:

2021 Term: January 13th to February 11th.

  • Ban Single-Use Styrofoam Containers (HB1902)
    • Status: Passed and signed into law!
    • Description:Prohibits the dispensing by a food vendor of prepared food to a customer in a single-use expanded polystyrene food service container.
  • Virginia – End animal testing for cosmetics (HB2250SB137900)
    • Status: Passed and signed into law!
    • Description: Prohibits the testing of cosmetics on animals in the Commonwealth, effective July 1, 2021. The bill also prohibits the sale by any cosmetics manufacturer, defined in the bill, in the Commonwealth, effective January 1, 2022, of any cosmetic that was developed or manufactured using animal testing on or after July 1, 2021, with certain exceptions. Attorneys for the Commonwealth may investigate alleged violations and information about testing provided to them is protected as a trade secret. Violations are subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 and an additional $1,000 for each day the violation continues. The bill preempts any local regulation on cosmetic animal testing.
  • Ban Intentional Balloon Releases (HB2159)
    • Status: Passed and signed into law!
    • Description: Release of balloon prohibited; civil penalty. Prohibits any individual 13 years of age or older or other person, including a corporation, from intentionally releasing, discarding, or causing to be released or discarded any nonbiodegradable balloon outdoors and provides that any person convicted of such violation is liable for a civil penalty of $25 per balloon, to be paid into the Game Protection Fund. Current law prohibits a person from knowingly releasing 50 or more such balloons within an hour and sets the civil penalty at $5 per balloon, with the proceeds deposited into the Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Endowment Fund.
  • Advanced recycling; not considered solid waste management, definitions (SB1164) (*** MOM’s opposed this bill)
    • Status: Passed and signed into law.
    • Description: Bill would weaken environmental oversight and permitting of chemical plants that melt down plastic waste to turn it into fuel, or often more plastic. The chemical and plastics industries have branded this “Advanced Recycling”, but the truth is that this bill would give these polluting industries a green light to build these experimental chemical plants in Virginia, often near communities of color who are already impacted by excessive air and water pollution. The American Chemistry Council has pushed to introduce this type of bill all over the nation.

Pennsylvania:

2021 Term: January 5th 2021 – November 30st 2022.

  • Make February 15th “Plastic Pollution Awareness Day” (HR29)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: A Resolution designating February 15, 2021, as “Plastic Pollution Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania.
  • Amending the Covered Device Recycling Act of 2010 (HB266)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Would amend Covered Device Recycling Act requiring manufacturers to provide recycling programs for desktop computers, laptop computers, computer monitors, computer peripherals and televisions sold to consumers in Pennsylvania.
  • Imposing a revenue-generating tax on carbon dioxide emissions (SB119)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: An Act authorizing the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a public comment process on and submit to the General Assembly a measure or action intended to abate, control or limit carbon dioxide emissions by imposing a revenue-generating tax or fee on carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Imposing Public Health obligations on Department of Environmental Protection (HB332)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: An Act amending Title 35 (Health and Safety) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for public health and imposing duties on the Department of Environmental Protection.

New Jersey:

2021 Term: January 14th 2020 – January 11th 2022.

  • Environmental Justice Law (S232)
    • Status: Passed and signed into law!
    • Description: The legislation requires the state Department of Environmental Protection to evaluate the environmental and public health impacts on vulnerable communities when reviewing permit applications for certain new facilities such as gas-fired power plants, incinerators, sewage plants, landfills and others. It’s touted as the strongest law of its kind in the nation.
  • Restrict use of neonicotinoid pesticides (S1016/A2070)
    • Status: In progress.
    • Description:This committee substitute would direct the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt, within 12 months after the bill is enacted into law, rules and regulations classifying neonicotinoid pesticides as restricted use pesticides.
    • Action Item.
  • List Monarch Butterflies as threatened species (SR102)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Urges U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list monarch butterfly as threatened species
  • Require New State buildings to have renewable energy systems (S3134)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Requires all new State buildings to have solar or geothermal energy systems, where feasible.
  • Prohibitions on Wildlife Euthanasia (S2965)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Prohibits wildlife rehabilitator from euthanizing wildlife except as specified.

New York:

2021 Term: January 6th 2021 – June 18th 2021.

  • Provision of Single-Use Plastic Straws by Restaurants  (A207/S1505)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description:  Requires that restaurants only provide single-use plastic straws to customers when explicitly requested by the customer or when selected by the consumer from a self-service dispenser.
  • Areas Containing Lead Contaminated Soil (S610/A4875)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Establishes that areas containing lead-contaminated soil shall have the levels of lead contamination decreased to a certain amount for residential areas and commercial areas.
  • Preservation of Honey Bee Colonies (S407/A6622)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Relates to the preservation of honey bee colonies.
  • Birds and Bees Protection Act (S699B/A7429)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Enacts the Birds and Bees Protection Act, prohibits the sale of certain pesticides and requires the commissioner of environmental conservation to report on the use of certain pesticides, requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to consider a strategy for the development of pollinator friendly lands, requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to distribute information to protect migratory birds, requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to make recommendations.

Washington, DC:

2021 Term: January 11th 2021 – December 2021.

  • Polystyrene Food Service and Loose Fill Packaging (B23-0191)
    • Status: Passed and signed into law!
    • Description: Amends the Sustainable DC Omnibus Amendment Act to prohibit the retail sale of expanded polystyrene food service and loose fill packaging.
  • Zero Waste Omnibus (B23-0506)
    • Status: Passed and signed into law!
    • Description: Amends the Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act to require the Mayor to prepare plans for comprehensive organics site management and for recycling infrastructure in the public space, create training and outreach guides on source separation, and establish a uniform labeling scheme, require large commercial food waste generators to source separate commercial food waste, and require waste collectors to address contamination in recyclables and compostables.
  • Public Tree Protection and Canopy Expansion (B23-0922)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: Amends the Urban Forest Preservation Act to provide additional protections for trees located on public space and expand the District of Columbia’s tree canopy.

Federal:

  • Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2021 (Petition)
    • Status: In progress.
    • Description: To direct the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to provide for ocean-based climate solutions to reduce carbon emissions and global warming; to make coastal communities more resilient; and to provide for the conservation and restoration of ocean and coastal habitats, biodiversity, and marine mammal and fish populations; and for other purposes.
  • Plastic-Free President (Petition)
    • Status: In progress.
    • Description: U.S. PIRG worked closely with U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal to introduce the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020. This sweeping legislation combines best policies for reducing plastic waste, including bans on certain single-use plastics, shifting more financial responsibility for recycling single-use plastic items onto the companies that make them, and would establish a national bottle deposit program. 
  • Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (Petition)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: The most comprehensive bill to address the plastic pollution crisis ever introduced in Congress. The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 expands and improves upon an earlier version of the bill utilizing proven solutions to protect impacted communities, reform our broken recycling system, and shift the financial burden of waste management off of municipalities and taxpayers to where it belongs: the producers of plastic waste.
  • Urge EPA to Ban Chlorpyrifos (Petition)
    • Status: In progress.
    • Description: Chlorpyrifos belongs to a nerve-agent class of pesticides called organophosphates that are associated with neurodevelopmental harms in children. In the EPA’s proposed interim registration review decision, the agency is proposing to allow numerous uses of chlorpyrifos to continue, thereby prolonging harmful exposure to children, workers, endangered species, and the environment. 
  • Business for a Fair Minimum Wage (Petition)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: We support raising the minimum wage, as proposed in the Raise the Wage Act, to $9.50 in 2021, $11 in 2022, $12.50 in 2023, $14 in 2024 and $15 in 2025.
  • Increase Federal Funding for America’s Failing Wastewater Infrastructure (Petition)
    • Status: In progress.
    • Description: Join Surfrider in calling on Congress to allocate $100 billion ($10 billion annually over 10 years) for the Clean Water SRF. EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) provides assistance to states and local communities for wastewater infrastructure improvement projects, including green stormwater projects and necessary upgrades. However, the Clean Water SRF hasn’t been properly funded for decades, despite the well-established economic returns and stimulus that occur from investing in America’s water infrastructure.
  • Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R.5986)
    • Status: Stalled.
    • Description: All people have the right to pure air, clean water, and an environment that enriches life. For too many, these rights are still unrealized, and that injustice creates a pattern of continuous suffering for environmental justice communities. 
  • Urgent National Shift to Organic Farming, Not Carbon Trading (Petition)
    • Status: In progress.
    • Description: The climate crisis, with unprecedented temperature shifts, storms, and wildfires, and the devastating decline in biodiversity are escalating as a result of uncontrolled and unnecessary reliance on toxic chemicals. These existential crises that threaten life, to be successfully thwarted, require a meaningful holistic strategy that commits our nation to ending our fossil fuel-based economy and use of petroleum-based materials that release harmful levels of carbon and noxious gases (including greenhouse gases/GHG) into the environment. The proposals now in Congress and the administration require close attention and scrutiny if we are to meet the urgency of the moment.

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