Press Release

Craft Brewers Support EPA Bolstering Protections for American Waters—And Beer!

Dozens of “Brewers for Clean Water” campaigners send comment letter in support of protections for streams and wetlands

Josh Mogerman, 312-651-7909

CHICAGO (November 14, 2014) – Some of the nation’s most respected and beloved breweries weighed in on the national debate over clean water protections today. Thirty-two members of the “Brewers for Clean Water” campaign signed onto a comment letter in support of long-delayed safeguards under the Clean Water Act. The campaign is a partnership between the Natural Resources Defense Council and beermakers aimed at protecting America’s bedrock water law and helping to advance the Clean Water Protection Rule which would return protections to American streams, wetlands and headwaters which in turn impact larger water bodies.

“For us, it’s simple. Our breweries can’t operate without a reliable, clean water supply,” the brewers state in their letter. “EPA’s proposed rule will restore protections under the Clean Water Act that will do far more than protect the water sources for our great-tasting beer – it will ensure that the more than 117 million Americans whose drinking water comes from systems drawing supply from such streams are protected as well.”

Few small businesses depend on clean water as much as craft brewers.  While hops and malt can be sourced elsewhere, breweries are reliant 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.  Today’s comment letter states support for the new Environmental Protection Agency draft policy, noting the importance of strong clean water protections for their businesses and communities, as well as other significant benefits to the environment and flood control.

“You can’t keep our biggest sources of water safe for drinking and brewing if polluters are allowed to dump into connected streams and wetlands,” said NRDC Water Program Senior Policy Analyst Karen Hobbs. “The brewers are letting the Obama Administration know that they need their Number One ingredient protected to maintain their business and slake the American thirst for tasty brews.”

NRDC announced the “Brewers for Clean Water” partnership last year to leverage the compelling business voice of dozens of the nation’s most respected craft beer makers in advocacy around water protections.

The following breweries signed on to today’s letter to the EPA in support of the draft rule:

In addition to the 32 breweries signing onto the comment letter, New Belgium Brewing Company, another “Brewers for Clean Water” campaign member, submitted their own supportive comments on the rule. Jenn Vervier, Director of Strategy and Sustainability, notes, “New Belgium Brewing Company submitted our own comments on the rule, but we fully support these comments submitted by our brewing colleagues.  By protecting our nation’s waterways, we protect our business and the people who love our beer.”

“In Chicago, Lake Michigan is a big deal and protecting it is essential not just to my business, but to my town,” said Josh Deth, Head Brewer and ‘Chairman of the Party’ at Revolution Brewing, one of the most beloved breweries in President Obama’s home town. “We rely on the Lake for more than source water for our beer – it’s where our drinking water comes from and where our kids swim. There’s far more than beer at stake here.”

Today is the last day that the public can comment on the Clean Water Protection Rule. Find more information and take action at NRDC.org

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