Mullin highlights renewable energies reliance on plastics, encourages innovation not overregulation in recycling space

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) delivered the opening statement and questioned witnesses during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the lifecycle of plastic.

In his remarks, Mullin, the Ranking Member of the Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee, reminded the committee that renewable energies rely on plastics made from petrochemicals and that the vast majority of petrochemicals are derived from oil and natural gas. Further, Mullin highlighted U.S. producers’ ability to innovate in the recycling space through new technologies such as advanced recycling, many of which are subject to the heavy burden of overregulation from the federal government.

Click here for a video of Mullin’s full remarks.

Opening remarks as prepared:

I would like to first start by thanking our witnesses here today for this Subcommittee Hearing, including Dr. GangaRao, for attending.

The focus of this hearing on petrochemicals is understood given this Administration’s views on domestic fossil energy production.

However, rather than using this opportunity to discuss all the innovative technologies that are available and upcoming, democrats would rather focus on ending American energy production.

A key point that many people forget, is that renewable energies rely on petrochemicals and the vast majority of petrochemicals, are derived from oil and natural gas.

EV’s, wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, just to name a few, are all made possible by petrochemicals.

Nearly every component of an EV and the batteries that run them require petrochemicals.

Wind turbines aren’t made out of wind, and solar panels aren’t made out of sunlight.

This is all possible, from petrochemicals.

Even better, using petrochemicals provides the opportunity to extend the lifecycle and new end of life uses for renewable energy technologies.

Without petrochemicals, we wouldn’t have today’s roads and bridges, current aviation and aerospace technologies, and advanced lifesaving medical equipment, such as hearing aids and pacemakers that make lives better and help people live longer.

Some people may not realize it, but one of the innovative technologies made possible by petrochemicals are our iPhones, that some of my colleagues will use to send out tweets admonishing the plastics industry as a whole.

Innovation, not over regulation, is where our focus should be.

Through innovation, we have watched private industries lead in the recycling space with technologies that have been developed or are under development to recycle plastic waste, one in particular being advanced recycling.

Environmentalists will say advanced recycling “burns plastic” to scare you and advance their anti-plastics agenda.

If advanced recyclers “burned their material” they would have no recycled material to sell to their customers.

In 2021, Oklahoma passed legislation recognizing the important role of advanced recycling, and 23 other states have done the same.

If our goal is to recycle more material, then the committee should focus on supporting technologies and innovations that do just that.

Instead of just trying to ban one of the most important innovations in the last 100 years that we know a modern society needs, I’m hoping in future hearings this committee can spend time focusing on innovation and how we, as legislators, can support these ideas that continue to advance society with a realistic perspective.