June 24, 2008

American Beverage Association Says Small Group of Mayors Led U.S. Conference of Mayors to Choose Sound-Bite Environmentalism Over Substantive Concerns of Families

MIAMI, June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Beverage Association said a small group of mayors led the U.S. Conference of Mayors to embrace today "sound-bite environmentalism" over sound public policy by passing a resolution discouraging the use of bottled water by city government, rather than address the more pressing economic and pocketbook issues burdening American families.

The USCM rubber-stamped a resolution that narrowly survived its policy-making committee process comprised of a small group of mayors - a committee process that drew strong dissent from mayors who viewed the measure as mere symbolism and out-of-touch with the priorities of American families. The final USCM vote clearly does not reflect a meaningful consensus by America's mayors.

"It's disappointing that some mayors find it more important to spend their time attacking a healthy beverage at a time when families are suffering from floods, rising food and fuel costs and threats to their homes and jobs," said Kevin Keane, a senior vice president of the American Beverage Association. "A few mayors have chosen sound-bite environmentalism over sound public policy in their zeal to appease liberal activist groups that are pedaling misinformation about bottled water."

The bottled water measure is tainted with hypocrisies and inaccuracies. While some mayors oppose the use of bottled water by city governments, most mayors across America gladly welcome bottled water when disaster strikes. Our beverage companies continually come to the aid of communities ravaged by floods, fires, hurricanes, other natural disasters and compromised municipal water systems. Our companies do so readily and proudly, having donated more than 4 million bottles of water to hurting communities so far this year.

"This resolution is just cynical politics. It's like being against rope until you need a lifeline," Keane said. "There's great irony in the fact that beverage companies are actively helping mayors in flood-ravaged communities in the Midwest recover, while a handful of mayors in Miami are attacking the water products providing those residents with safe drinking water and good health."

The environmental claims made by a few mayors about bottled water hold no water at all.

Plastic water bottles are 100 percent recyclable, making bottled water one of the few fully recyclable consumer goods. The recycled plastic from these bottles is in high demand to make new plastic bottles, carpeting, winter jackets, clothing and other consumer goods.

The reuse of recycled plastic bottles reduces materials going to landfills and resources needed to make other consumer goods, including reducing our reliance on oil for the manufacture of consumer products. And the plastic bottle keeps water safe as it makes its way to consumers.

"We're making a positive impact on the environment that goes far beyond politically expedient sound-bites," Keane said. "There's no other consumer products industry doing more to reduce its impact on the environment than the beverage industry."

Passage of the resolution, which was instigated by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and activist groups he is close to, certainly doesn't reflect the views of most American mayors. The USCM policy-making process essentially allows a resolution to move from approval of a small committee to the acceptance of the full conference as part of a large slate of diverse resolutions.

"We believe that common sense will prevail when mayors return to their communities, as most recognize more pressing challenges are facing their communities than concerns about a healthy water beverage," Keane said. "And we certainly encourage mayors and their staff to learn the full facts about plastic water bottles and their impact on the environment, as well as how the beverage industry is leading the consumer products industry in reducing its impact on the environment. They're receiving a great deal of inaccurate and misleading information from liberal activist groups."

More information on bottled water, its containers and industry's environmental initiatives can be found at http://www.ameribev.org/.

The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.

American Beverage Association

CONTACT: Kevin Keane of American Beverage Association, +1-202-463-6716,+1-202-701-5059

Web Site: http://www.ameribev.org/