Businesses Join Effort to Defend Clean Water Rule from Lawsuit

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Environment America Research & Policy Center

CINCINNATTI, OH – Two hundred and thirty-four businesses joined Environment America Research & Policy Center and American Sustainable Business Council in urging a federal court to uphold the Clean Water Rule. From outfitters to brewers to charter boat companies, many of these businesses depend on clean water for their livelihoods.

 “Clean water is vital to making excellent beer,” explained Jenn Vervier, Director of Sustainability & Strategy at New Belgium Brewing.  New Belgium is fortunate to make its beer from headwater sources in Colorado and Western North Carolina. “We support the clean water rule because we need to protect the streams that feed our rivers, and the livelihoods of the millions of people in the brewing industry throughout the county.”

 From the Great Lakes to the Colorado River to the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s great waters depend on small streams to feed them and on wetlands to filter out pollutants.  Finalized in 2015, the Clean Water Rule restored protections for half the nation’s streams and thousands of wetlands across the country. 

Unfortunately, polluters and their allies are aiming to derail the rule in Congress and the courts.  As the 6th circuit court of appeals considers legal challenges to the rule, 234 businesses from across the country joined an amicus brief in support of the Rule filed by Environment America Research & Policy Center.

 “Americans, cherish clean water first and foremost as vital to our ecology, our health, and our quality of life,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America Research & Policy Center. “But businesses also need strong protections for clean water to thrive and survive.”

 According to the American Sustainable Business Council, implementing the Clean Water rule would generate over $400 million annually in economic benefits, and more than 80 percent of small business owners support implementation of the rule.

 “Businesses from a wide range of economic sectors – including manufacturing, hospitality, agriculture, recreation, and brewing – know that clean water is essential to the financial solvency of their operations,” explained Richard Eidlin, Vice President for Policy and Campaigns at the American Sustainable Business Council, and a signer on the amicus brief.  “Without it, they can’t profitably function.”

Another business owner signed onto the amicus brief is Jeff Garnsey, owner of Classic Island Cruises along the St. Lawrence River in Clayton, New York.  His family has been chartering fishing expeditions for seven generations.  (He appears in the forthcoming clean water documentary Changing Currents, and you can see him in this trailer at 00:47)    

 Jeff and his family have a vital stake in the Clean Water Rule, because their business depends on the health and integrity of the streams, tributaries, and wetlands in the St. Lawrence River watershed.

 “These waters are, quite simply, the pumps through which the lifeblood of the river flows,” said Garnsey.   

 In addition, 79 local officials also signed onto a separate amicus brief with Environment America Research & Policy Center in defense of the Clean Water Rule

 While the court considers the case, polluters and their allies are also restarting their efforts to have Congress dismantle the Clean Water Rule.  Previous efforts have failed, as at least 41 senators have taken a courageous stand for clean water – and the businesses and communities that depend on it.

 Environment America Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our water, air and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. 

 The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network, it represents more than 250,000 business owners, executives and investors from a wide range of industries.