This year especially, the House bill to fund the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and related agencies has received a lot of attention for being the most anti-environment, anti-government funding bill to date.
With final consideration and vote on the bill indefinitely stalled due to a controversial amendment about the Confederate flag, it’s a good time to pause and consider another hidden rider included in the House version of the appropriations bill. This one is a gift wrapped giveaway to the bottled water industry.
Representative Keith Rothfus (R-PA), put forward an amendment, passed by a voice vote, which prevents the National Park Service from implementing its 2011 policy aimed to reduce and recycle plastic bottles in national parks. Recognizing the need to reduce the parks’ environmental footprint, the policy allows the option for parks to stop selling bottled water if they complete an extensive list of requirements.
Since the policy went into effect, more and more parks have banned the sale of bottled water, opting instead for water refilling stations. Parks that have adopted this policy have reported a reduction in litter from plastic bottles. This is an important step forward in preserving the environment of our public lands and moving us away from our dependency on bottled water.
The House appropriations process is at a standstill and the amendment was already approved. But we can still stop this nonsensical amendment from becoming law. First, we can ask our representatives to vote NO on the Interior-EPA bill. Second, we can ask our Senators to keep this language out of the Senate version of the Interior-EPA bill.
We must stop giving the bottled water industry free reign to exploit our natural resources! Take action today to tell Congress to keep bottled water out of our national parks.