Trump Kills Obama Plan To Ban Plastic Bottles At National Parks

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

The Trump administration is reversing an Obama-era ban on the sale of disposable water bottles at National Parks, according to the Interior Department.

“While we will continue to encourage the use of free water bottle filling stations as appropriate, ultimately 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 (NPS) Director Michael Reynolds said in a statement released Wednesday.

The 2011 Obama administration gave park officials the option to ban water bottle sales at National Parks, but still allowed the sale of soft drinks and juices. The policy was intended to reduce plastic bottle sales throughout the park system.

Only 23 of 417 parks had implemented the policy, which Park Service officials said eliminated the “healthiest beverage choice” from menus. Those national parks included the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon and Mount Rushmore.

However, the Obama administration put the policy in place to reduce the Park Service’s carbon footprint and promote their Green Parks Plan.

In some places, the Park Service spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new water filling stations at the Grand Canyon and Zion national parks — not to mention the lost revenues from bottle sales.

Ten water stations at the Grand Canyon cost taxpayers $288,900 and three Zion stations cost $447,200, according to Citizens Against Government Waste. If these water stations aren’t properly maintained, they can end up spreading bacteria and disease.

At the time, even former NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis admitted banning plastic water bottle sales contradicted efforts to get healthier foods to be sold at parks, and he worried the ban could be bad news for people going on long hikes and suffer from health problems.

Park officials still encouraged people to still recycle their bottles and use free water bottle filling stations.

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