Local businesses call for more protection for clean water

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David Leinweber, owner of Angler's Covey on S. 21st Street, joins other Coloradans in asking that Clean Water Act protections be restored.

David Leinweber has built his Colorado Springs fly fishing business on Colorado’s clean water.

And, he’s not happy with Supreme Court rulings that have changed the Clean Water Act, making some of Colorado’s waterways vulnerable to pollution.

He joined about 100 other Colorado business owners, lawmakers, farmers and environmental activists in signing letters to President Obama calling for the federal government to restore Clean Water Act protections.

Leinweber was joined Thursday by two members of Environment Colorado, a statewide citizen advocacy organization, in front of Colorado Springs city administration building calling for the changes. Environment Colorado also held a press conference in Denver.

Virginia Shannon, Environment Colorado field organizer, said the letter campaign coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act.

“To be able to truly celebrate 40 years of cleaner water, we need to protect our Arkansas River by restoring the Clean Water Act,” she said.

Two Supreme Court rulings in the past decade have left 68 percent of Colorado’s streams unprotected, Shannon said. In a letter to the President from five Colorado lawmakers, they wrote that the drinking water for 3.7 million Coloradans may no longer be protected because the streams that feed it are seasonal. And 62 percent of streams in Colorado could lose protection because they are headwater streams and no other streams flow into them.

President Obama has proposed guidelines to restore the Clean Water Act protections.

For Leinweber, who owns Angler’s Covey on S. 21st Street, clean water is personal. Last year, he took 1,000 people fly fishing.

Colorado, he said, receives nearly $1.2 billion dollars annually from recreational fishing and more than 600,000 people buy a Colorado fishing license every year.

“Water quality is paramount to sustaining this resource and the Clean Water Act is vital to this effort,” he said.