March 20, 2018

Contact: Senator Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Cowles’ Bill to Turn Plastics into Fuel Passes Senate

MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after 2017 Assembly Bill 789, authored by Senator Cowles and Representative Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc), passed the Senate:

“Today’s action by the Senate moves Wisconsin one step closer to opening our doors to an innovative process that transforms plastic waste into valuable commodities like gasoline, waxes, and lubricants. Pyrolysis and gasification represent an opportunity for new, stable, and long-term markets which benefits businesses and consumers, and an increased diversion of materials from our landfills which benefits local governments and communities. Pyrolysis and gasification of our post-use plastics also means a more responsible reuse of our natural resources. Assembly Bill 789 ensures that Wisconsin is on the cutting edge of this new manufacturing process by properly classifying the industry as manufacturing.

“Earlier today, an Ohio-based company announced a partnership with BP to convert 100,000 tons of plastic waste into 16 million gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel each year at a new facility in Northeast Indiana. Once operational in 2019, the facility is expected to create 136 manufacturing jobs. During the Senate and Assembly hearings, we heard from industry leaders who said companies like this are prepared to come to Wisconsin upon the passage of Assembly Bill 789, giving Wisconsin the opportunity to create hundreds of jobs in this pro-business and pro-environment industry.”

Under Assembly Bill 789, pyrolysis and gasification facilities convert post-use, non-recycled plastics in an oxygen-free or oxygen-deficient and low emission process into valuable commodities such as oils, fuels, waxes, lubricants, and chemicals. This bill clarifies that pyrolysis and gasification facilities are defined and regulated as manufacturing facilities and not as solid waste disposal facilities which are subject to a timely, costly and burdensome process that other manufactures do not have to endure. AB 789 does not interfere with the regulation of often-contentious waste-to-energy facilities that burn waste, nor does it interfere with the regulation of existing solid waste facilities. AB 789 passed the Assembly in February, and now heads to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.