in Houston, Texas
Plaintiffs pan can ban in New Braunfels
Thursday, Sep 29, 2011, 11:52AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Beer can

To the political tumult in New Braunfels created by an ordinance designed to keep beer cans and other trash out of the Comal and Guadalupe rivers, you may now add a lawsuit.

The businesses that exist to serve the thousands of people who float, drink, cavort and often litter want a state district judge to toss out the city ban on any kind of disposable containers on the rivers, according to a San Antonio Express-News story.  

Incensed residents successfully petitioned to put the container ban to a referendum on the ballot Nov. 8. Political action committees representing both sides of the issue have been battling for more than a month, with opponents whispering about recalling the city council members who voted for the ban, the story says.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit say that if only a fraction of the tourist traffic in this area between Austin and San Antonio stays away because they can’t drink their beer out of cans, tens of millions of dollars in business will be lost.

Their attorney, Jim Ewbank, said the ordinance is “an ax murder” approach to solving a litter issue that was, in effect, “criminalizing sandwiches in baggies.”

The paper said city officials, who have been through this before, had no comment on the lawsuit.

In 2007, residents recalled a council member who proposed rules that at the time limited the number of cans in individuals could bring along on the river and the size of the coolers they could put them in.

The council in 2000 attempted to ban alcohol on the rivers altogether but the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission nullified it by its regulatory authority over alcohol on the state’s waterways.

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at mark@texaswatchdog.org or 512-891-8303. Follow him on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo of beer can in creek by flickr user derekmarkham, used via a Creative Commons license.

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