Judge Overturns ‘Can Ban’ — Lets River Tourists Drink in the Water Once More

For many people who love tubing down a river, one of the best parts is kicking back with friends and drinking a nice cold beer in the warm summer sun. However, last year officials in New Braunfels, Texas, made it illegal for tourists riding inflatable tubes to have disposable containers on the water. There was a second ordinance that also regulated the size of coolers people could bring with them and into the water.

Dubbed the “can ban” by locals and the media, the ordinance went into effect due to the amount of littering that happened. As intoxicated (or lazy) floaters enjoyed the outdoors, some would simply toss their plastic, aluminum and paper cans and bottles into the river rather than properly disposing them after they left. This angered both the tourists using the river, and local businesses that rely on river tourism.

“The fact of the matter is once this became known all over the state that the disposable container ban was in place, then there was a huge decrease in the number of people that came and rented tubes and purchased food and beverage in disposable containers — a 50 percent decrease,” said the business owners’ attorney Jim Ewbank. But on Monday, a judge hearing the case indicated that he will side with the businesses, finding the two bans unconstitutional and unenforceable.

“The city may appeal it,” Ewbank acknowledged. “That’s been their practice in the past to try and delay the inevitable and to incur significant costs and fees that are unnecessary and are a burden upon the taxpayers for ordinances that have now been declared unconstitutional.”

To get the whole story, check out the video above. Then let us know what you think. Should there be an ordinance, or is there another solution?