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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Citing New NPS Report, Quigley Reiterates Need To Restore Obama-Era Guidelines on Water Bottle Sales

Sep 25, 2017
Press Release
NPS Report Shows Trump Administration Ignored Success of Policy, Which Saved Millions of Water Bottles From Polluting Parks

WASHINGTON – Citing a newly released National Park Service (NPS) report, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Vice-Chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), called out the Trump Administration for ignoring the report’s findings when it rescinded the effective Obama-era guidelines that banned the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in national park facilities. Earlier this month, Rep. Quigley introduced the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act, which would reinstate and make permanent the ban on the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in national park facilities.

“The Trump Administration’s rationale for reversing the ban on water bottle sales in National Parks is nonsensical and nonexistent, especially given the fact they actively ignored the Park Service’s own findings on the issue,” said Rep. Quigley. “This newly released report makes it clear as day that the Trump Administration will continue to deny science, research, and facts in its efforts to prioritize big corporations at the expense of our wildlife and environment. We know that this is an issue where a simple and reasonable solution would have a profound impact as we work to preserve our pristine natural places. I will continue fighting for the end of water bottle sales in National Parks, and I hope this eye-opening report will push others in the same direction.”

“The bottled water industry has led a years-long campaign against this commonsense policy, all to protect its bottom line,” said Lauren DeRusha Florez, Associate Campaign Director for Corporate Accountability International. “The fact that Trump administration officials knew the benefits of this policy back in May but still decided to rescind it last month, sure looks to me like the bottled water industry’s lobbying dollars at work.”

The NPS report, just released in response to a FOIA request, is dated May 2017, meaning the Trump Administration knew of the efficacy of the water bottle policy first instituted under President Obama. The report reveals  that the policy saved millions of water bottles from polluting park grounds and going into landfills each year. As a result of this policy, the 23 parks that adopted the ban on the sale of plastic water bottles, saw a reduction of approximately 111,743 pounds of plastic water bottles each year – bottles previously purchased and possibly discarded improperly on NPS grounds. The findings are further evidence that the common-sense policy is effective and successful.

Rep. Quigley introduced the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act to reinstate and make permanent the Obama-era guidelines that first called for the water bottle sale ban in National Parks. The legislation would also address the complexity of such a policy by allowing NPS regional directors great discretion in how to implement the policy while encouraging them to develop a visitor education strategy to explain the rationale for the program.

As Vice Chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, Rep. Quigley has long been an outspoken defender of the environment, sustainability efforts, and protecting America’s public lands and wildlife. Earlier this year, he visited Rocky Mountain National Park during his #RepInTheRockies tour to see the impacts of climate change firsthand and learn more about combating global warming through sound science, mitigation, adaptation, and education. As a life-long member of the Sierra Club with a score of 98% from the League of Conservation Voters’ National Environmental Scorecard, Rep. Quigley consistently leads efforts in Congress to protect the health of our natural environment for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.