VIDEO: Quigley Delivers +50,000 Plastic Water Bottle Ban Petitions to Department of Interior
WASHINGTON —Today, Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy & Environments Coalition (SEEC), delivered 57,828 petitions to the Department of Interior urging National Parks superintendents to resist the Trump Administration's anti-environment agenda by making their parks bottled-water-free. Rep. Quigley was joined by advocates and allies from Corporate Accountability, League of Conservation Voters, and Daily Kos.
“Today, I was proud to join environmental advocates in representing 57,828 concerned citizens and sending a clear message to President Trump on the importance of protecting our planet and our parks,” said Rep. Quigley. “Despite overwhelming evidence of the sustainability success of banning the sale of plastic water bottles in National Parks, the Trump Administration, once again, chose to side with big corporations at the expense of our national treasures. Today, we exercised our constitutional and democratic right to make our voices heard and demand that the Department of Interior do its job and uphold its mission. Denying science, research, and facts will destroy our earth, and we cannot—and will not—sit idly by as that happens.”
“Rescinding this policy just weeks after appointing a deputy secretary of the Interior with deep ties to Nestle is just proof that the Trump administration is of, by and for corporations, not people or the planet,” said Alissa Weinman, water organizer at Corporate Accountability. “Try as they might, the bottled water industry cannot make this commonsense policy disappear. We’re here sending a strong message: the bottled-water-free movement is here to stay!”
Last month, Rep. Quigley introduced the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act to reinstate and make permanent the Obama-era guidelines that banned the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in national park facilities. The legislation addresses the complexity of a nation-wide 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.
Click here to watch the Facebook Live video from today’s petition drop-off.
“Rep. Quigley’s bill would ensure the National Park Service can continue building on a successful waste-reduction program,” said Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director at the League of Conservation Voters. “The Park Service has a strong record of conservation, preserving some of our most important cultural and natural resources for more than 100 years. We commend Rep. Quigley’s environmental leadership and his support for innovative programs that help protect our public lands and waters for future generations.”
Following the implementation of the original ban on plastic water bottles, parks that were able to join the effort saw real results. Zion National Park in Utah eliminated the sale of 60,000 water bottles, or 5,000 pounds of plastic waste, by installing bottle-filling stations and selling affordable reusable bottles in their concession stands. This is a prime example of how encouraging the use of reusable bottles and making them readily available can reduce waste and act as a model for best practices in sustainability.
A recent NPS report, released in September in response to a FOIA request but dated May 2017, shows that 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.