Excerpt from: CREDO
Disposable plastic water bottles are single the biggest source of trash and pollution in our national parks.1 That’s why in 2011 the National Park Service gave national parks the ability to ban sales of commercially bottled water from wasteful, disposable plastic bottles, instead encouraging park visitors to use refillable water bottles for hydration.
But the ability of national parks to implement this commonsense and environmentally sustainable policy may soon come to an end. After intense pressure and lobbying from giant water bottling companies like Coca-Cola and Nestle, Republicans in Congress slipped in a last minute amendment into its parks funding bill that prohibits national parks from banning disposable bottled water.2
This is a stunning giveaway to the bottled water industry at the expense of our national parks, and we need to stop it. Tell Congress to strip this terrible idea out before it passes this year’s national parks funding bill.
Today, Americans discard over 50 billion plastic water bottles per year, which consumes 20 billion barrels of oil and releases 25 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The National Park Service estimated that reducing bottled water could eliminate 6,000 tons of carbon emissions and 8 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year.3, 4
After the decision to allow parks to ban the sale of disposable bottled water and instead make refilling stations widely available to visitors, the new program was rapidly adopted by some of the most iconic and cherished national parks across the country. By 2014, nearly two dozen national parks had implemented it, including the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore. 5 Zion National Park reported that it eliminated over 60,000 disposable bottles – 5,000 pounds of plastic – every year.
- But last month, after a lobbying campaign from Big Water brands like Deer Park, Fiji, and Evian that totaled over half a million dollars since 2011, Republican Rep. Keith Rothfus snuck a last-minute amendment into Congress’s appropriations bill, blocking the National Park Service from funding or enforcing the program.
National Parks were created to preserve some of this country’s most beautiful outdoor areas for the enjoyment of Americans – not to boost the profits of corporations. We can’t allow members of Congress to overturn sound public policies and sell out our national parks to the bottled water industry. Tell Congress to drop this horrible idea and quit playing politics with our national parks.
- Go to CREDO Action to sign this petition to tell Congress to Stop Big Water from polluting our national parks:
“Discarded water bottles are the single largest source of waste on public lands. Do not prohibit our national parks from implementing necessary restrictions on bottled water sales on park lands.”
Thank you for your activism.
Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
“More National Parks Ban Plastic Bottle Sales,” Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, March 25, 2014.
Lisa Rein, “How Big Water is trying to stop the National Park Service from cleaning up plastic bottles fouling the parks,” Washington Post, July 13, 2015.
“Plastic Water Bottles in National Parks and the Green Parks Plan,” National Park Service, January 5, 2010.
Adele Peters, “The Bottled Water Industry Is Fighting To Keep Plastic Bottles In National Parks,” Fast Co.Exist, July 20, 2015.
“Nearly two dozen national park sites ban plastic water bottle sales,” The Wilderness Society, April 10, 2014.
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