Amendments proposed to Great Smoky Mountains and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians sochan agreement

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Amendments proposed to Great Smoky Mountains and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians sochan agreement

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is seeking public comment on amendments and additions to the agreement formed last year between the park and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, allowing the Cherokee to harvest sochan from their ancestral lands that are within the park.

Three amendments to improve the agreement are proposed. They would allow permitted tribal members the choice to gather a portion of the sochan leaf or whole sochan leaves; clarify text related to gathering activities near visitor centers, trailheads, campgrounds and picnic areas; and establish a sochan research area that would be off limits to gathering. Public comments will be collected through January 12. 

Keep America Beautiful public recycling bin grants available

The Coca-Cola Foundation and nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful have announced that the application period for the 2020 Keep American Beautiful/Coca-Cola Public Spaces Recycling Bin Grant Program is open through December 31. In 2019, recycling bins were distributed to 31 organizations including government agencies, colleges and universities, and Native American tribal locations.

Grantees will be selected based on their potential to collect the most cans and bottles for recycling as well as other considerations such as creating new or expanding access to recycling in a community and providing access in environmentally sensitive areas. To learn more about the grant visit their toolkit.

Veggie burgers can still be called “burgers” in Arkansas

A federal court has temporarily blocked a law passed in Arkansas earlier this year banning plant-based food from using the name “burgers” and other meat-related terminology like “sausages.” In recent years, plant-based meat substitutes have become a billion dollar industry, causing concern to traditional livestock industries. The lawsuit, filed by the state, claimed that labeling plant-based products with meat-related names would confuse consumers.

United States District Judge Kristine G. Baker ruled in favor of the ACLU and Tofurky. In her ruling, Judge Baker stated that, “the state appears to believe that the simple use of the word ‘burger,’ ‘ham,’ or ‘sausage’ leaves the typical consumer confused, but such a position requires the assumption that a reasonable consumer will disregard all other words found on the label.”

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