In recent remarks made by Senator Mullin (R-OK) during an Environmental and Public Works subcommittee hearing, the viability of ending plastic production was challenged. When a witness stated that her goal is to end plastic production altogether, Sen. Mullin highlighted her hypocrisy.
In a clip from the hearing, environmentalist Angelle Bradford asserts that “the plastics industry must be stopped.” In response, Sen. Mullin points out the hypocrisy and absurdity of that statement. What Ms. Bradford and others who claim that plastic and petrochemical production must be halted fail to see is that they, along with most Americans, actively contribute to the plastics industry and use plastic products every day.
Sen. Mullin called out Bradford for the many ways she was using plastic at the very moment of questioning. “What’s going to replace your glasses?” [KR1] [AM2] he questioned the witness, who was wearing glasses made of plastic. The Senator also pointed out her clothing, shoes, water bottle, and phone – all which are made with plastics. When Bradford failed to give a suggested alternative material to produce these products, Senator Mullin highlighted how plastic is often the only viable option for production of important goods.
Sen. Mullin uses the example of pipes to demonstrate this point. Wood piping, for example, was previously used in buildings but requires lining in dangerous chemicals, lead pipes result in lead poisoning, galvanized pipes rust and deteriorate, and copper pipes require mining, which environmentalists are also target. The senator emphasizes that though environmental activists support the notion of ending plastic production, everyone depends on plastic.
In the words of Sen. Mullin, “You can choose to not use plastic…if you believe it, then live it that way, and if not, then tell me what the solution is.”