Trump Nixes Obama-Era Bottled Water 'Ban' in National Parks
Critics say the bottled water industry's lobbying has won
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2017 5:27 PM CDT
   (Getty Images / ermingut)

(Newser) – Environmentalists have a new bone to pick with the Trump administration, this time over bottled water. A six-year-old policy that encouraged national parks not to sell bottled water has been overturned by Trump, reports the Guardian. Per NPR, the Obama-era policy put in place to reduce waste and pollution wasn’t exactly a ban, but a guideline adopted by 23 national parks including Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. In 2011, the National Parks service began encouraging parks to enact the policy to act as an “exemplar of sustainability.” Parks that stopped the sale of bottled water had to provide water filling stations and information to visitors on where to find them. Per the Guardian, plastic bottles can make up the majority of a park’s litter and trash–at the Grand Canyon alone, they comprised 20% of waste before water sales ended.

Critics say overturning this policy favors the bottled water industry, which has been lobbying against it. (The International Bottled Water Association has spent $80,000 arguing against the "bottle ban" since Trump took office.) But others say the original policy was flawed since it still allowed the sale of other bottled drinks, like soda—while eliminating sales of the healthiest drinking option. “It should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods,” acting National Park Service director Michael Reynolds said in a press release; he added that parks would still encourage visitors to use the free water filling stations “as appropriate.”

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