Biden Admin Reverses Trump Policy Allowing Plastic Water Bottles At National Parks

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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The Biden administration announced Wednesday it will reverse a Trump-era policy that allowed the sale of single-use plastics, like plastic water and soda bottles, at U.S. National Parks.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland ordered a department-wide approach to reduce plastic pollution at national parks and other public lands by 2032 by ending the sale of plastic items intended to be disposed of immediately after use, reported The Associated Press.

“The Interior Department has an obligation to play a leading role in reducing the impact of plastic waste on our ecosystems and our climate. As the steward of the nation’s public lands, including national parks and national wildlife refuges, and as the agency responsible for the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, we are uniquely positioned to do better for our Earth,” said Haaland in a statement.

“Today’s Order will ensure that the Department’s sustainability plans include bold action on phasing out single-use plastic products as we seek to protect our natural environment and the communities around them,” she added.

Haaland is reversing a Trump administration policy that brought back plastic water bottle sales after the Obama administration implemented restrictions on them in 2011. (RELATED: Biden’s Interior Secretary Was Forced To Answer Senators’ Energy Questions. It Didn’t Go Well)

The Trump administration argued park-goers should be able to choose between the free water hydration stations or purchasing bottled water at the parks.

“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,” said former National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds in a 2017 statement, reported NPR.

Haaland’s decision will ban plastic items, including plastic and polystyrene food and beverage containers, bottles, straws, cups, cutlery, and disposable plastic bags, according to the Interior Department order.

“Less plastic waste means more protection of our environment. Single-use plastic products are hazards to the public lands, wildlife and oceans we love,” Haaland tweeted. “We all have an important role to play when it comes to eliminating plastic waste. My Order to phase out single-use plastic products and packaging today is good for our ecosystems and for the Earth.”