Parks Agency V. Interest Groups

America’s National Parks were formed for conservation efforts during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration. These principles hold true today, remaining a staple in American environmentalist ideology, the National Parks have implemented a new policy against the selling of bottled waters within the park in order to cut down on pollutants and garbage. According to Lisa Rein this will prevent 5,000 pounds of plastic from entering the litter stream. However, bottled water corporations have begun to lobby in Washington against  this action.

The interest group International Bottled Water Association, IBWA, representing 200 bottled water corporations, is lobbying for an amendment in an appropriations bill- the “Rothfus Bill”- which would prohibit the parks service from using taxpayer money for efforts to eliminate bottled water from their parks. Taxpayer money would go to public water bottle filling stations, as the alternative to selling bottled water within the parks.

While the IBWA claims to be protecting the taxpayers from the parks spending money on water bottle filling stations, this is fallacious. This claim from the IBWA is misleading because with the elimination of bottled water within the parks there would be less expenditure on “litter removal and waste disposal”. Water bottle sales within national parks are a huge source of revenue for these companies. They don’t seem that they care about the cost for taxpayers unless that money is going back to them.

The removal of bottled water within the parks was never mandatory. It was just a memo that encouraged the idea because it was a practical approach to saving money and creating less litter.

The elimination of selling of water bottles within the parks department would show a federal agency making an effort to help the environment, and it’s shameful that the IBWA would make such a show of trying to preserve their market.

Because of the steps taken by the Parks Service it looks as though the American government is functioning properly. But it is upsetting that government officials – notably Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA), have been persuaded to act in the interest of these groups. The IBWA’s reasoning behind the Rothfus Bill is a perverse act of monetary interest, it’s not about the people and their interest it’s about keeping money in the IBWAs pockets. While the big water companies might maintain this market, the environment will surely suffer.

Rein, Lisa. “How Big Water is trying to stop the National Park Service from cleaning up plastic bottles that are fouling up the parks.” Washington Post.  13 July 2015. Accessed 15 July 2015.

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Student at Edward R. Murrow High School, in Brooklyn New York.