In 2015, Congressman Ken Calvert, a Republican from California's 42nd house district, received a $1,000 campaign contribution from the political action committee of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), whose members include the biggest beverage companies in the world, such as Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
That same year, the IBWA's CEO, Joseph Doss, thanked Calvert for his efforts on behalf of the IBWA during their annual business conference. Calvert was their featured speaker.
"We need leaders like you in Washington who will work to help ensure that visitors from all over the world can choose the healthiest packaged beverage product when they and their families visit our nation's beautiful national parks," Doss remarked.
What Doss was referring to was the efforts of Calvert and other House Republicans, such as Keith Rothfus from Pennsylvania, who also received a $1,000 donation from the IBWA PAC and whose state is home to a $5.5 billion bottled water industry. Rothfus introduced an amendment into an Interior Appropriations bill that would have made it illegal for the National Park Service to implement or maintain bans on the sale of bottled water at any national park. National Park Service officials had been working for years to reduce plastic waste in the parks in order to meet sustainability goals.
According to Corporate Accountability International -- a nonprofit organization that works to ensure public funding for water systems and to counter what it says are misleading marketing claims by the bottled water industry -- during the summer of 2015, over 350,000 people contacted their members of Congress asking them to oppose the amendment. Then, in December, 2015, 34 members of Congress, led by Democratic Representative Raúl Grijalva from Arizona, sent a letter to National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, voicing their support for bottled-water-free policies.