Businesses from 30 states urged a federal court in North Dakota to uphold the Clean Water Rule, in an amicus brief filed by Environment America Research & Policy Center and the National Environmental Law Center. From outfitters to brewers to farmers, many of these businesses depend on clean water for their livelihoods. In addition, 62 local officials also signed onto a separate amicus brief also filed by the groups.
“We can’t make good beer without clean water!” explains Ryan Naylor, Marketing Manager at One World Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina – one of 23 craft breweries signed onto the amicus brief.
From the Colorado River to the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s great waters depend on small streams to feed them and on wetlands to filter out pollutants. The Clean Water Rule, finalized in 2015, restored protections for half the nation’s streams and thousands of wetlands across the country.
Jeff Garnsey, owner of Classic Island Cruises, charters fishing expeditions along the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York. His family has been in the business for seven generations and 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. (Mr. Garnsey also appeared in a clean water documentary Changing Currents, and you can see him in this trailer at 1:11)
The streams protected by the rule help provide drinking water to 1 in 3 Americans and wetlands help protect communities from flooding. Despite the myriad benefits of the Clean Water Rule, polluters and their allies are seeking to dismantle it through all three branches of government -- the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Congress, and the courts.
John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America Research & Policy Center, says that’s a big mistake.
“Clean water is vital to our ecology, our health, and our quality of life. That’s why so many business owners support the Clean Water Rule.”
According to the American Sustainable Business Council, implementing the Clean Water rule would generate more than $400 million annually in economic benefits, and more than 80 percent of small business owners support implementation of the rule.
“We know that clean water is as essential to a healthy economy as it is to a healthy environment,” said Hammad Atassi, CEO American Sustainable Business Council and a signer on the amicus brief. “Businesses will fight to protect clean water because it is essential to their bottom line. Many businesses supported the Clean Water Rule in development, and now want to see the court uphold it against legal challenge.”