Politicians, Parents, People Support Clean Water for All

Thursday, April 4, 2019
NJ_Water_Clean Water Rule_Montclair Brewery Event_Photo by Eric

Montclair, NJ - Parents, beer enthusiasts, and other neighbors came together yesterday at the Montclair Brewing Company to voice their opposition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ (the Corps) radical proposal to dramatically weaken Clean Water Act protections for streams and wetlands. If finalized, this dirty water rule would be the worst weakening of clean water protections since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972. Local activists and residents signed postcards and wrote letters to send to the EPA while also enjoying craft sodas and ales.

In February 2019, EPA and the Corps released for public comment the proposal to permanently exclude from Clean Water Act protections all rain-dependant streams - that’s millions of miles of streams in the U.S - and more than 50 percent of the country’s wetlands. If the proposal is finalized as is, the drinking water sources for millions and millions of Americans will be put at risk of pollution and destruction

A sign-on letter circulated around New Jersey legislature has bi-partisan support as 43 legislators have signed on. Additionally, 35 groups representing over 60,000 members have signed a similar group letter opposing the proposed rollbacks. 

"Clean water is the most important ingredient in great beer," said Eric Benson, Clean Water Action, NJ Campaign Director and home brewer. "These rollbacks would put at risk the small streams and wetlands that are the starting points of many great IPAs and lagers."

Economic data tabulated by the Brewers Association in 2016, showed that 90 craft breweries in NJ contributed over $1.6 billion in economic activity. "While we are small and independent, the classification belies the true economic impact that we have generated by tapping into strong consumer demand in New Jersey and nationally" stated Denise Ford Sawadogo, co-owner of Montclair Brewing Co. "To be successful we need clear and consistent rules from our government and we count on access to clean water - for our employees, our customers, and simply to operate."

"I have always cared about the environment, but now that I am a new parent, the stakes seem so much higher. Clean water protections keep my four month old daughter healthy, so that is why I am sending a postcard to the EPA opposing rollbacks to the Clean Water Act" said Kerry Doyle, Montclair resident and new mom.

"Small and sustainable businesses like The Montclair Brewing Company are essential drivers of local economies and help power our economy, creating jobs and supporting our communities," added Amy Goldsmith, Clean Water Action, State Director. "And access to clean water is the backbone of strong and resilient communities." 

The opportunity for the public to comment on this dangerous proposal is closing soon - EPA and the Corps only provided a 60-day comment period. The deadline is April 15th. Neighbors can submit a comment by going to https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149-0003


Clean Water Action has more than 150,000 members statewide in New Jersey and is the nation's largest grassroots group focused on water, energy and environmental health. Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress. www.cleanwater.org/nj


Eric Benson