The United States Senate shamefully has approved a serial climate-change-denier, Scott Pruitt, to head the EPA. The 52-46 vote was almost entirely along party lines. All Republican senators except Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted for Pruitt, while all Democrats except Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) voted against him. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did not vote due to a military conference he is attending in Germany. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) also did not vote.
Beer is 95 percent (or more) water. So, without question, safe, clean water is vital to craft brewing's viability (and, of course, to the health and vitality of all Americans). Several American 'craft' breweries have publicly agreed, becoming signatories to the Clean Water Pledge of the National Resource Defense Council.
And, now, because of their intrinsic, operational need for clean, safe water, thirty-two American breweries are openly opposing the nomination of Oklahoma's Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is both a wise and a courageous business move.
Here is their letter to the United States Senate.
Please vote against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Pruitt’s record of attacking clean water protections shows that he is the wrong choice to lead the agency.
Our breweries cannot operate without reliable, clean water supplies. Together, our businesses employ hundreds of people, and our beers are shipped across the country. We need an EPA administrator who will adopt and enforce policies that protect the water sources we use to make our great-tasting beer. Mr. Pruitt’s actions as Oklahoma Attorney General, however, demonstrate a history of attacking and undermining the protections on which we depend.
Mr. Pruitt has challenged virtually every important EPA safeguard in recent years, often falsely accusing the agency of overstepping its authority. We need an EPA administrator who will enforce our laws to protect our resources and our communities, not someone who tries to weaken safeguards on behalf of polluters.
Beer is about 90 percent water, making local water supply quality and its characteristics, such as pH and mineral content, critical to beer brewing and the flavor of many classic brews. Changes to our water supply – whether we draw directly from a water source or from a municipal supply – threaten our ability to consistently produce our great-tasting beer, and thus, our bottom line.
Protecting clean water is central to our business and our long-term success. Not only does the great-tasting beer we brew depend on it, but so do the communities in which we operate. Mr. Pruitt cannot be trusted to protect America’s water resources. We hope that we can count on you to oppose his confirmation to head EPA.
- Rob Todd: Allagash Brewing Company (Maine)
- Brandon Wright: Andersonville Brewing Co. (Illinois)
- Sandy & Jay Boss Febbo: Bang Brewing (Minnesota)
- Peggy Zwerver: Bar Hygge/Brewery Techne (Pennsylvania)
- Taylor Smack: Blue Mountain Brewery/Blue Mountain Barrel House (Virginia)
- Kris Spaulding: Brewery Vivant (Michigan)
- Steve Hindy: Brooklyn Brewery (New York)
- Chris Ray: Center of the Universe Brewing Company (Virginia)
- Peggy Zwerver: Earth Bread + Brewery (Pennsylvania)
- Brent Schwoerer: Engrained Brewing Company (Illinois)
- Frank Moeller: Flying Mouse Brewery (Virginia)
- Ryan Mitchell & Michael Brandt: Garden Grove Brewing Company (Virginia)
- Ian Hughes: Goose Island Beer Co. (Illinois)
- Helen & Michael Cameron: Greenstar Organic Brewery (Illinois)
- Matt Gallagher: Half Acre Beer Company (Illinois)
- Josh Hare: Hops & Grain Brewing (Texas)
- Carol & Tim Cochran: Horse & Dragon Brewing Company (Colorado)
- Kelly Taylor: KelSo Beer Company (New York)
- Russell J. Klisch: Lakefront Brewery (Wisconsin)
- Daniel Kleban: Maine Beer Company (Maine)
- Jenn Vervier: New Belgium Brewing Company (Colorado)
- Brandon Wright: Oak Park Brewing Company (Colorado)
- Corey Odell: Odell Brewing Company (Colorado)
- Russell Springsteen: Right Brain Brewery (Michigan)
- Heather Sanborn: Rising Tide Brewing Company (Maine)
- Tim Patton: Saint Benjamin Brewing Company (Pennsylvania)
- Peter Egleston: Smuttynose Brewing Company (New Hampshire)
- Taylor Smack: South Street Brewery (Virginia)
- Allie Hochman: Starr Hill Brewery (Virginia)
- Josh Gilbert: Temperance Beer Co. (Illinois)
- James Ebel: Two Brothers Brewing Company (Illinois)
- Mary Wolf: Wild Wolf Brewing Company (Virginia)
Scott Pruitt's history of opposition to maintaining, preserving, and promoting clean water, let alone our nation's other precious natural resources, prima facie disqualifies him for the position of Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
One wonders, then, why (so few) more breweries have not signed on to this letter. Or why the [U.S.] Brewers Association hasn't taken a stand. After all, eleven percent of its members' dues go to government lobbying. As beer writer Alan McLeod observed about beer and politics, at A Good Beer Blog:
But would it kill you to write or call those who represent you in the political realm? Would it hurt too much to maybe pass on that next bit of indulgent “beer travel” and the tripping haze of new fun bar after new fun bar and, instead, travel to sit in a committee room where a policy you hate and want stopped is being discussed, waiting your turn soberly to put your ideas on the record for the five minutes they give you at the microphone?
Getting political is about waking up, being adult. Doesn’t really matter where your interests or political preferences lay. You think the big craft carpetbagger brewery that received the regional branch plant tax break wasn’t engaged in politics behind the backs of the local brewers? I bet the local craft community wishes it had laid the earlier groundwork that might have seen them receive the funding for expansion instead. Which would have required them being actively political.
- Why should Scott Pruitt NOT be the next EPA administrator? Read this and this and this and this.
- Read more about the brewers' Clean Water Pledge: here.
- A pdf of the brewers' letter to the Senate: here.
- More at the NRDC: www.nrdc.org.
- Thank you to Craft Brewing Business which reprinted the brewers' letter on its website.
- For more from YFGF: