Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents a jurisdiction that’s had more than its fair share of problems with unhealthy amounts of lead seeping into its drinking water, is urging members of Congress to save the taxpayers a few bucks by drinking tap water instead of bottled water.
“The new House Republican majority, on a hunt for what to cut, needs to look no further than some of our own offices—not mine, I am pleased to say—and hearing rooms, where Members of Congress can only get a drink of water from a bottle. Today, we call on Congress to go bottle-free and bring back the pitchers of safe tap water that the government pays for anyway, as a DC Water customer to save a million dollars annually,” Norton says in a release.
Why be a piker, EHN? Water from a tap may be cheaper, but it’s still not free. How about members of Congress bring their own damn water from home? And how about installing timers in the House and Senate showers? Now those are good ideas.
Anyway, here is Norton’s full statement after the jump:
I begin by thanking Corporate Accountability International and DC Water for encouraging so many to become bottle-free and for not letting Congress off the hook.
I have to give it to the genius of American business and marketing, though. Companies that market soft drinks and juices discovered a new product as they turned on their collective faucets, put a price on this public commodity, bottled it, and proceeded to contaminate the environment with plastic bottles that may carry health risks. Any day now, they will be selling bottled air to the House of Representatives.
The new House Republican majority, on a hunt for what to cut, needs to look no further than some of our own offices — not mine, I am pleased to say — and hearing rooms, where Members of Congress can only get a drink of water from a bottle. Today, we call on Congress to go bottle-free and bring back the pitchers of safe tap water that the government pays for anyway, as a DC Water customer to save a million dollars annually.
How we fell for bottling our water as necessary and even hip is a cautionary tale of its own. There are several indicators of an advanced nation — not I.T. for many developing nations have cell phones and other gadgets, and certainly not automobiles, for they are ubiquitous Safe drinking water, though, is such a recognized salient indicator of an advanced society, and the U.S. crossed that threshold as the 20th century began. The miracle of a retailing brought us bottled water in the seventies. Jogging and bottled water became popular at the same time. Water scares here and elsewhere added to concerns about tap water.
But did anyone ever wonder about the safety of bottled water? We presumed that if it came in a bottle, it must be safe. Yet almost 70 percent of bottled water is exempt from Food and Drug Administration regulation because of giant loopholes. Tap water, on the other hand, is closely regulated and monitored throughout the U.S. Tap water is constantly tested for E. coli, fecal matter and other contaminants. Bottled water is not. It is time to swear off bottled water and, with it, the bottles that fill our landfills.
Our House office accounts have been cut justifiably in light of the economy. As long as Congress is cutting, it is time to pick the low-hanging bottled fruit and save a million dollars in-House, and much more for the environment.
D.C. Water’s George Hawkins, he of Christmas party dancing fame, gives Congress a piece of his mind as well.