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Karen Hobbs’s Blog

Brewers Demand Action for Clean Water

Karen Hobbs

Posted June 12, 2013 in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, U.S. Law and Policy

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Earlier today, 20 members of NRDC's Brewers for Clean Water campaign sent a letter to America's most visible home brewer -- President Obama —urging him to move forward on long-delayed safeguards under the Clean Water Act.

Few small businesses depend on clean water as much as craft brewers.  While hops and malt can be sourced elsewhere, breweries rely on their local water supplies. Whether drawn from lakes, rivers, groundwater or a local water system, breweries rely on the protections of the Clean Water Act to ensure the quality of their main ingredient.  Beer is, after all, 90% water.

That’s why brewers are calling on President Obama to clarify which waterbodies are covered by the Clean Water Act.  Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 created uncertainty about what types of waters are protected by the law. Agency “guidance” issued under former president George W. Bush further limited the ability of pollution control officials to protect waters, making implementation of the law difficult, time consuming, and expensive. As a result, it became unclear whether the law protected a variety of waters, especially those that are geographically isolated from others, or that lack permanent flow. More than 117 million Americans depend on these waterbodies for their drinking water.  EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released draft guidance in 2011; they received more than 230,000 comments, the vast majority of which were positive. 

Please join these brewers in urging President Obama to release the Clean Water Act guidance: 

As Russell Springsteen, the owner of Right Brain Brewery says, "As breweries, we have a voice that can be heard by thousands. As citizens, we have a responsibility to use that voice to improve the world around us...It's a no-brainer."

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Comments

Neal HundtJun 13 2013 10:52 PM

And while you're contacting the President, ask President Obama to rescind the Bush-Cheney decision that exempts hydro fracturing drillers from adhering to the Clean Water Act. The natural gas bonanza is threatening water supplies wherever the industry goes, posing a huge threat to the brewing community as well as every citizen that has a right to clean water.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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