MN brewery joins others to urge senators to vote against EPA nominee

Breweries around the country are urging senators to vote against President Donald Trump's nomination to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
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Breweries around the country sent a letter to U.S. senators Wednesday, urging them to vote against President Donald Trump's nomination to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

St. Paul-based Bang Brewing, which was Minnesota's first dedicated organic brewery, joined 31 other breweries to sign the letter, which argues nominee Scott Pruitt has a "record of attacking clean water protections" while he was attorney general of Oklahoma.

Having clean water is really important to breweries. Beer is made up of about 90 percent water, so if the local water supply has a lot of junk in it, the beer won't taste good – and that's just bad for business.

"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," the letter says. "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."

Something worth noting: Bang Brewing and the other breweries that signed the letter are part of the National Resource Defense Council's Brewers for Clean Water initiative. But some prominent breweries that are part of the group did not sign the letter, including Sierra Nevada Brewing, Lagunitas, Avery Brewing, Founders and Great Lakes, Brewbound points out.

Arguments for and against Pruitt

A full Senate vote to approve Pruitt as the administrator of the EPA is expected this week. Democrats – including Minnesota's U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar – have said they'll vote against Pruitt, while a few Republican senators have expressed their concerns with Pruitt and have said they'd vote no, too.

Opponents of Pruitt, which includes pretty much every environmental group imaginable, are worried that if he becomes the head of the EPA, he'll get rid of all the environmental protections enacted under President Barack Obama and go for a "more collaborative approach" with the industry leaders that helped advance his career in politics, the New York Times said. They're also concerned with the fact Pruitt has sued the EPA several times, and his failure to comply with open-records law, The Atlantic explains.

Meanwhile, Pruitt's supporters – including 23 conservative advocacy groups – argue Pruitt's record shows he supports the idea that individual states know what they need, and should be allowed to regulate their own environment. These supporters have stressed that Pruitt isn't against clean air or water, but dealing with these issues is best handled locally.

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