Minnesota small businesses rely on clean water

Water means small business in Minnesota: Tourism, microbreweries, wild rice, and more.

Small Business Minnesota has been getting the word out in Minnesota and met with congressional officials and staff in DC to discuss the significance of clean water to small businesses.

Tourism, backbone to Minnesota’s economy: As you know, Minnesota has more than 10,000 lakes and just about as many outdoor recreational activities. Clean water is vital to Minnesota’s tourism that generates $35 million a day in revenue and employs 250,000 Minnesotans, (Minnesota Department of Tourism, 2014 report). Southern Minnesota is the state’s most lucrative tourist area in Greater Minnesota; yet half of its lakes have been designated as unsafe for swimming or fishing, and others have been listed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as “unrecoverable.” One of the state’s leading newspapers reports “Minnesota’s lakes – and its economic backbone – under algae siege.”

Minnesota’s microbrewery industry is booming, surpassing most other states for micro-brews per capita, and the growth in our state continues. An owner of one of Minnesota’s newest and most successful Breweries, the Lupine Brewing Company in Delano, explained that clean water is vital to their business.  Any change in water, either from pollution or from changes in water treatment to deal with pollution, can change their product quality, taste and uniformity, which would be devastating to their business.  The small business owner called pollution “extremely hazardous to our business.”

Minnesota has a robust wild rice small-business industry. More than any other state, wetland wild rice is part of Minnesota’s native culture and deeply imbedded in our history. Harvesters are dependent on clean water, yet wetlands are under the continual threat of laws that would allow unlimited dumping of sulfate.

Minnesota is also home to thousands of small family farms, small growers, pollinator businesses and organics businesses that by definition have to be free of contaminants. All depend on clean water.

Interested in becoming more involved or sharing your story? Contact SBM’s public policy director, email Audrey Britton or call (763) 280-3316.

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