State leads charge against Biden plan to force cutbacks on single-use plastic

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(Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash)

By Nick Pope
Daily Caller News Foundation

A coalition of Republican state attorneys general led by Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is fighting a federal agency’s proposal to massively reduce the amount of single-use plastics consumed by the government.

The General Services Administration (GSA) —  which provides centralized procurement for the federal government and offers office products and other services to federal agencies — proposed a rule in late December 2023 that would put the federal government on track to significantly reduce its use of single-use plastic packaging in an effort to be environmentally friendly. Skrmetti and 13 other state attorneys general argued in comments filed Monday that the policy exceeds the agency’s authority, and that it would decrease the efficiency of federal procurement and increase costs while failing to do much for the environment.

“The proposed rule advocates green policies over the efficient and effective procurement of government property and therefore exceeds the scope of rulemaking authority delegated by Congress to the GSA Administrator,” the letter reads. “The proposed rule would back-door environmental policy adoption without legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President.”

GSA Letter – Single Use Plastics by Nick Pope on Scribd

Beyond the proposal’s potential impacts on the federal government’s own operations, the letter further states that it would also increase costs and procurement times for states and firms that do business with the federal government. The attorneys general also pointed out that alternatives to plastic packaging — including cardboard and paper — have their own environmental shortcomings, such as requiring more energy for production and generating more solid waste.

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“This is another effort by the federal government to force an ideological agenda onto the American people via an end run around the Constitution,” Skrmetti said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Not only is the rule illegal, but it would also be unnecessarily expensive for consumers and producers and may well cause more, not less, harm to the environment.”

The GSA did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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