Green beer is fun, green water, not so much
St Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays. I grew up thinking that I was Irish (only to find out sadly, that Great Grandma Leary was actually English), so perhaps that is why I feel the affinity — or maybe it is my love of corned beef and cabbage. But one custom that has always fascinated me is people's willingness to drink green beer.
While I understand that it is mostly the beer part, it always makes me think about the water. We are lucky in America to have a science based system to protect and deliver our drinking water from the tap. Standards are based on protecting human health and ensuring our survival. But the sources of our drinking water don't have the level of protection that they need to ensure a clean, safe, plentiful source of drinking water for future generations. Many of our lakes, rivers, streams turn green all on their own — and trust me, it isn't as fun as green beer. Pesticides, nutrients, and other things that shouldn't be in our water, run off of agricultural fields and threaten our drinking water.
So far, our drinking water has continued to be some of the best in the world through the efforts of water treatment professionals and strong, health based standards they are required to uphold. But since the election, we have seen the new Administration and Congress at work to turn back the clock on protections for drinking water, and too many of our Minnesota legislators are following their course.
As Congress and the White House work to decimate the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to enforce laws that protect our water, forces are at work in Minnesota to weaken permitting processes, reduce citizen's ability to participate in decision making about their own communities, and have drinking water (and other) standards determined by legislative politics rather than science. All of these efforts combined are designed to give polluters free reign in Minnesota — and across the country — to make profits at the expense of taxpayers and our environment.
Minnesota is better than that — America is better than that. Now is the time to stand up and remind Republican leaders in Minnesota and in D.C. that we don't want to go back to an America where rivers were on fire, people were dying from air pollution and citizen's had no say.
Now is the time to be glad that you don't have to drink green water every day. Help us make St. Patrick proud by driving the snakes that polluters are out of our state and ensure that Minnesota's waters are protected for future generations.