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Skagit Valley Craft Brewing Industry Opposes Mining in the Skagit Headwaters

Thirteen craft breweries, distilleries, and beer industry businesses located in the Skagit River Basin sent a letter to B.C. Minister of Mines expressing strong opposition to a pending mining permit in the Skagit River Headwaters. The businesses join a growing opposition of nearly 300 entities formally opposing mining. 

Barley from Skagit Valley Malting, shown before and after germination in the malting process. Barley and other local crops depend on water from the Skagit River.

Water is one of the most valuable resources to craft brewing businesses, communities, and the nearby wilderness enjoyed by many. Washington prides itself on a robust, high-quality, and award-winning beer industry. Beer is 90% water and the brewing process itself is water-intensive. The success of this industry is dependent on fresh, clear, high-quality mountain water. Washington Wild established the Brewshed® Alliance to advance our shared interest in protecting wild lands and waters.

Plant-based ingredients also depend on a healthy Skagit River watershed. Barley grown and malted locally by Skagit Valley Malting is an essential ingredient to brewing beer and many distillation processes. These resources are directly threatened by mining activities upstream.

Logging and mining — even exploratory mining — are known to increase sediment, water temperatures, and contaminant levels in downstream areas, which negatively impact water quality and aquatic species.

A pint of beer from Chuckanut Brewery, brewed using locally sourced water from the Skagit river watershed.

A pending mine poses unacceptable impacts to fish, wildlife, and water resources. It also stands as a violation of the 1984 High Ross Treaty. Fears of impacts are not unfounded. Imperial Metals Corporation — the company applying for a mining permit  — is infamous for the Mount Polley mine tailings pond spill, one of the largest environmental disasters in Canadian history. 

The brewing industry businesses note the victory of halting logging in the Skagit Headwaters one year ago, and urged the Minister of Mines to follow-suit and take a similar stance to deny mining in the same area. Doing so will establish a conservation legacy and ensure the sustainability of an entire downstream industry.