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Colorado Farmer, R.E.M. Song Featured in Waters of the U.S. Video


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DENVER, Colo.) – In advance of the October 18 anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) today released a new video in support of the proposed Waters of the U.S. clean water rule. The video stars fifth-generation San Luis Valley rancher and farmer Alfonso Abeyta, and uses with permission of the band R.E.M., their song, “Cuyahoga,” about the Ohio river that caught fire (although not the first time) in 1969. The fire and subsequent Time magazine coverage motivated Congress to pass the Clean Water Act in 1972.

“That’s why it puzzles me when some politicians in Washington don’t want to protect America’s streams and wetlands,” Abeyta says in the video. “You can’t grow food without water. You can’t live without water. Without water, nothing survives. I’m not thinking about myself; I’m thinking about my grandkids. I want them to be healthy and have clean water like I had growing up. I think it’s our job to protect it.”

R.E.M. is well-known for its leadership on clean water and countless environmental issues, so it is no surprise that the group authorized the use of its poignant song in this powerful PSA.

“This common-sense guidance protects clean water for our farms and families, and provides greater certainty for landowners,” said Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President and farmer Kent Peppler. “The White House should finalize the clean water rule.”

Approximately 117 million people – one in three Americans – get drinking water from public systems that rely on seasonal, rain-dependent, and headwater streams, which would be protected by the clean water rule. The RMFU video is being shared through social media including Facebook (Rocky Mountain Farmers Union) and Twitter (@RMFUnion), with policy-makers directly, and is available online at rmfu.org.

The public comment period for the clean water rule closes November 14th, 2014.

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