Grand Canyon officials postpone plans to ban sales of plastic water bottles at Arizona national park after Coca-Cola officials raise concerns

NEW YORK , November 10, 2011 () – Officials at the Grand Canyon abruptly abandoned plans to ban the sale of plastic water bottles at the national park in Arizona after conversations with Coca-Cola officials, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Stephen P. Martin, who crafted the plan, told the newspaper that the effort was scrapped after Coca-Cola officials raised concerns. Coca-Cola, which distributes water under the Dasani brand, has donated more than $13 million to the U.S. national parks system.

David Barna, a National Park Service spokesman, said National Parks Service Director Jon Jarvis made the "decision to put it on hold until we can get more information.

"Reducing and eliminating disposable plastic bottles is one element of our green plan," Barna said. "This is a process, and we are at the beginning of it."

Susan Stribling, a spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, said the company would prefer to help address problems with littered plastic bottles by making more recycling programs available.

Martin, a 35-year veteran of the park service who rose to the No. 2 post in 2003, said he was disheartened by the decision.

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