There was something missing at a July 13 U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing related to the budget for the Department of the Interior for 2023: water bottles.
As Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., noted at the start of the hearing when introducing Secretary Deb Haaland, the subcommittee is eliminating single-use bottles at its hearings.
"And I mention that simply because plastic is becoming an issue that the department ... is dealing with, that America is dealing with, that the world is dealing with because it is impacting our lands, our oceans, our wildlife, even our own bodies and because, Secretary Haaland, under your leadership the Interior Department is taking steps to address the issue of plastic pollution," Merkley said.
The White House said June 8 that Haaland will oversee a plan to phase out the sale of single-use bottles and packaging on public lands over the next 10 years.
Eliminating single-use bottles, typically arrayed on witness tables at every hearing, is one small way of acknowledging the work to cut back on plastics, Merkley said.
Haaland did not mention single-use plastics at her presentation, but a video from C-SPAN of the hearing does show her carefully placing her own reusable water bottle on the table at the start of the session.