Bottle Ban Blocked in Grand Canyon

A New York Times article online reported the indefinite postponement of a plastic bottle ban in Grand Canyon National Park.. The plan was blocked by the national parks chief after a conversation with Coca-Cola, a major distributor and producer of Dasani water bottles. The plan was overturned last year just a couple of weeks before the implementation date on January 1st. Park service officers were disappointed with the recent decision due to the park’s commitment to sustainable practices and the tremendous success of a similar ban in Zion National Park in 2008.

“Discarded plastic bottles account for about 30 percent of the park’s total waste stream, according to the park service. Mr. Martin said the bottles are “the single biggest source of trash” found inside the canyon.”

“Banning anything is never the right answer,” a spokeswoman at Coca-Cola said. “If you do that, you don’t necessarily address the problem. You’re not allowing people to decide what they want to eat and drink and consume.” 

As travelers, we are constantly on the move. Our belongings must fit into a suitcase under 50 lb with mini shampoo bottles all snug in their Ziplock bag, awaiting inspection. We don’t always remember to pack every necessary item of clothing or quick-dry towel before jumping in the car or on a plane. But how much space does one water bottle take up? How difficult is it for every person in a family to bring his or her personal Nalgene or Sigg on their nature adventure?

A friend of mine carries her water bottle wherever she goes. She and the water bottle, Joe Nalgene, have become so attached that he now has a page on Facebook and frequently posts comments on friends’ pictures. While I don’t necessary recommend that every reusable water bottle assumes an Internet identity, I think each of us must grab remember to grab a bottle before leaving the house.

The Coca-Cola spokeswomen says that banning water bottles doesn’t address the problem. The word problem is defined as a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome. An example of a problem is too many water bottles in the national park. The definition of the verb address is to deal with or discuss. An example of this verb in action is removing water bottles before they can be discarded, thus significantly reducing a litter and providing a cleaner healthier park for workers and visitors alike.

I’d say the national park service was doing exactly the opposite of Coca-Cola’s claims by directly addressing the problem of disposable water bottles and decreasing our dependance on bottled water production. Then again, maybe they didn’t see the problem the spokeswoman was talking about. A decrease in Dasini sales…

H.R. 2584

“H.R. 2584, with its deep cuts in important environmental and natural resource programs and amazing array of special interest riders and funding limitations, falls far short of meeting our responsibilities to protect and wisely use the resources of the earth.”

-Congressman Jim Moran, 8th District of Virginia

I am a proud American whether I’m home in New York, at school in Pennsylvania or traveling in the Philippines. When I read about a new bill bound for the House of Representatives, I was shocked and upset. H.R. 2584 is an appropriations bill “for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes.”1

The bill will prevent the Endangered Species Act from adding any new species to the list. It will remove funding for and protection of grey wolves and big horn sheep. Furthermore, the bill prevents the EPA from using funding to ” modify, cancel, or suspend the registration of a pesticide… in response to a final biological opinion or other written statement” about the harmful effects of the pesticide on an endangered species or its surrounding habitat. It will open up one millions arces around the Grand Canyon for mining!

But maybe animals aren’t very important. What about humans? The bill also adds a number of riders that would actually increase environmental health hazards for American citizens. The EPA’s current proposed Mercury and Air Toxins for power plants will be further delayed. The EPA’s appropriated funds cannot be used to increase water quality in Florida or modify the current ambient air quality standard, directly affecting public health. Our health. Cleaning up a river filled with toxins or dealing with sickness caused from air pollution is much more costly than monitoring and regulating the pollution in the first place. The pre-cautionary principle not only saves money but saves lives. And most of these riders do not even reduce the overall budget.

John Walke, in his commentary as a NRDC staff, writes, “Among other things, the Lummis amendment would weaken the Clean Air Act by blocking forthcoming protections to sharply cut mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic and lead from power plants that burn coal and oil.”2

Congresmen Jim Moran’s press release voiced his frustrations with the bill as Ranking Member on the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee. “The list of legislative riders and funding limitations in the bill is long: NEPA waivers, limitations on judicial review, and the blocking of pollution controls. Whole legislative texts have been dumped into this bill. These riders and limitations have nothing to do with deficit reduction and everything to do with carrying out an extreme ideological agenda.”3


The United States of America needs to lead to fight against environmental hazards that threaten our fellow humans and the natural world. When will the US realize large-scale mining, lax air pollution regulations, and destruction of biodiversity are things of the past? Say NO to H.R. 2584.

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Read Top 10 American Vacation Spots the House’s Environment Spending Bill Could Ruin