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Conservationists urge Biden administration to step up plastics ban in parks

Plastic water bottles may one day be banned at the Grand Canyon and other Arizona landmarks.

The Biden administration says it wants to phase out disposable varieties in national parks within a decade, but one conservation group would like to see that happen much sooner.

Plastics can cost parks a lot of money to haul away. That’s assuming they make it to the recycling bin, or the trash.

But parks have struggled to ban plastics because the decision winds up in the political arena.

The nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, has found through public records requests that industry lobbyists have fought the agency on the issue behind the scenes.

“National parks are where we come to enjoy our nation’s natural beauty and learn about its history and cultures, commercialization and consumer choice should remain where they belong, and that’s in shopping malls,” said Colleen Teubner, a spokeswoman for PEER.

She says that although her group applauds the Biden administration’s policy, it would like to see it put in place in two years. 

Ron Dungan has lived in Arizona for more than 35 years. He has worked as a reporter, construction worker, copy editor, designer and freelance writer. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the undergraduate Writers’ Workshop, and has a master’s in history from Arizona State University.Dungan was an outdoors reporter and member of the storyteller team at the Arizona Republic, where he won several awards, and was a contributor on a border project that won the 2018 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting.When not working, Dungan enjoys books, gardening, hanging out with his German shorthaired pointer, backpacking and fly-fishing. He's a fan of the Arizona Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes.