The word in the asphalt jungle is that Coca-Cola intervened and blocked a plan to ban bottled water in Grand Canyon National Park. The NYT has the story:
Stephen P. Martin, the architect of the [bottle ban] plan and the top parks official at the Grand Canyon, said his superiors told him two weeks before its Jan. 1 start date that Coca-Cola, which distributes water under the Dasani brand and has donated more than $13 million to the parks, had registered its concerns about the bottle ban through the foundation, and that the project was being tabled. His account was confirmed by park, foundation and company officials…
Neil J. Mulholland, president of the foundation, said that a representative of Coca-Cola had reached out to him late in the process to inquire about the reasons for the water bottle ban and how it would work.
Coca-Cola maintains that banning bottled drinks is not the answer to the Park’s problem with discarded plastic bottles, which account for 30 percent of the trash in the Canyon. While it seems true that a call from Coca-Cola prompted National Park Foundation to shelve the bottle ban plan, Coke officials were not menacing or overtly demanding; they did not threaten to withdraw funding. Coca-Cola remains a large donor to the National Park Foundation.
Via Meadia strongly hopes that the Coca-Cola company will end up on the side of the angels here. Cherry Coke Zero is the king of diet sodas and the official soft drink of Via Meadia; we hope that the manufacturers of such a wonderful soda can find a smart way to save one of our nation’s most beautiful landscapes from trash.