Nic here. This is a special guest post from New Belgium coworker Andrew Lemley, who's been working hard for quite a while now with legislators, authorities and concerned citizens on a proposed rule change to what are considered "Waters of the United States." Clean water is an important issue to us here at New Belgium, and the foundation on which great beer is brewed — but I'll let Andrew explain further:
What’s a WOTUS? (read woah-tus)
WOTUS is an acronym for “Waters of the United States.” It’s the definition of which surface water (lakes, rivers, etc.) can be federally protected to make sure our country has a top notch water supply. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers are working to clarify which waters are in this category. At New Belgium we think this is a good idea.
We care deeply about clean rivers, lakes and streams. We need them to make beer. Everyone needs them to hydrate. Outdoorsy folks need them to kayak, fish or skinny dip. The proposed WOTUS rule would expand which water is able to be regulated by the EPA and would include headwaters, tributaries and other waters connected to larger rivers. This clarification makes common sense: water bodies that are connected to rivers should be safeguarded like those rivers themselves.
Clean water is a part of our triple bottom line business model. Crafting great beer while caring for the planet and doing what is right is how we operate. Our journey has led us to take steps to reduce our own impact on the water supply. We’ve built an onsite process wastewater treatment plant. We’ve cut water use. We give philanthropic dollars to nonprofits engaged in water conservation. We do what we can to honor the environment in our own process and philanthropy. We also know that good policies that protect water can do more than we could ever do on our own.
The next time you open a beer while you watch the sun set over a clean lake or hear the river rushing by your campsite, raise your glass (or can or bottle) to the WOTUS.
If you want to dig deeper and find out how you can help, visit our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council. They have all kinds of great info and can help you speak out for clean water too.
Cheers — Andrew