National park bottle ban has detractors

As the Golden Gate National Recreation Area looks into banning the sale of bottled water, the beverage industry is hoping to have a say in the matter.

Park officials intend to begin the process within six months, but the American Beverage Association says limiting consumer choice is unnecessary.

“There seems to be folks who want to regulate how we drink water,” said Kate Krebs, the association’s senior environmental policy adviser. “I just don’t feel that, from a public policy standpoint, that that should take place.”

Fourteen national parks, including the Grand Canyon, have banned the sale of bottled water on their land. And this week, a local coalition launched a campaign, Think Outside the Bottle, to urge the GGNRA and Yosemite National Park to jump on board. But the beverage industry insists that would be a mistake.

Krebs said the GGNRA attracts millions of hikers, joggers and sightseers every year, and those people should be the ones who decide whether they drink water out of a fountain, reusable container or plastic bottle.

She said the beverage industry would like to meet with park officials before a final decision is reached.

“If this is looking at the environmental footprint of bottled water, we have information that we’d like to share,” said Krebs, adding that plastic bottles are a key source of revenue for the recycling industry.

GGNRA spokesman Howard Levitt said park official will allow stakeholders to voice their concerns, but at this point no one from the beverage industry has contacted them.

He said the GGNRA is committed to reaching full sustainability, and eliminating bottled water sales is an important component of that goal.

“We’re going to keep the full-court press going in all areas,” he said.

pgackle@sfexaminer.com

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