The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
New Bill Aims to Restore 'Common-Sense' Plastic Water Bottle Ban in National Parks
Last month, the Trump administration raised environmental alarm bells when–under alleged beverage industry pressure—it rescinded the 2011 "Water Bottle Ban" in national parks, an Obama-era guideline that allowed parks to prohibit the sale of disposable plastic water bottles on park facilities to reduce waste and carbon emissions.
Enter Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, who introduced a bill on Wednesday to restore the path for our national parks to ditch these single-use, non-biodegradable menaces that continually show up in our forests and water bodies. A tipster told EcoWatch that the "Reducing Waste in National Parks Act" (HR 3768) is the first piece of legislation put forward in Congress to address the issue of bottled water reduction in national parks.
The bill would allow National Park Service regional directors the discretion to implement the policy and encourages them to develop a visitor education strategy to explain the rationale for the program.
Quigley's office touts that the bill "promotes conservation" and protects America's pristine natural sites from the Trump administration's "attacks against common-sense sustainability efforts."
"President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke's decision to overturn the common-sense plastic water bottle ban in National Parks is a clear reminder that this Administration will continually bow to the agendas of profit-driven corporations at the expense of our National Parks, wildlife, and environment," said Rep. Quigley in a statement.
"We know that seventy percent of plastic water bottles find their way to landfills and waterways; and in National Parks, those bottles build up along trails and streams, harming our pristine sites and endangering the plants and animals that call them home. Our National Parks serve as shining examples for how to treat our planet, while allowing Americans and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy our nation's awe-inspiring natural heritage," Quigley added. "Reinstating the sensible, flexible ban on the sale of single-use plastic water bottles helps ensure that these public spaces—from Yellowstone and the Everglades to Yosemite and Zion—are protected for future generations."
Quigley, a Democrat who represents most of Chicago's North Side and some of its western suburbs, serves as vice-chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. You might remember that he introduced the "Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement" or COVFEFE Act—a bill with a silly name but dealt with a serious issue about archiving Trump's tweets from his personal account, @realDonaldTrump.
A tweet from Donald Trump that baffled the internet.
HR 3768 has 12 co-sponsors, including Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), David Cicilline (RI-01), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Jared Huffman (CA-2), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), David Price (NC-04), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), and Niki Tsongas (MA-03). The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director at the League of Conservation Voters, praised the initiative.
"Rep. Quigley's bill would ensure the National Park Service can continue building on a successful waste-reduction program," Taurel said. "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."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?
For the past seven years, the Anishinaabe people have been facing the largest tar sands pipeline project in North America. We still are. In these dying moments of the fossil fuel industry, Water Protectors stand, prepared for yet another battle for the water, wild rice and future of all. We face Enbridge, the largest pipeline company in North America, and the third largest corporation in Canada. We face it unafraid and eyes wide open, for indeed we see the future.
By Mara Dolan
We see the effects of the climate crisis all around us in hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and rising sea levels, but our proximity to these things, and how deeply our lives are changed by them, are not the same for everyone. Frontline groups have been leading the fight for environmental and climate justice for centuries and understand the critical connections between the climate crisis and racial justice, economic justice, migrant justice, and gender justice. Our personal experiences with climate change are shaped by our experiences with race, gender, and class, as the climate crisis often intensifies these systems of oppression.