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Environment


Kasich expects to sign a new version of the water-use bill he vetoed
Changes to the bill have garnered Kasich's support, but environmentalists remain concerned
by WKSU's VALERIE BROWN


Reporter
Valerie Brown
 

Gov. John Kasich says he looks forward to signing a revised version of a bill to regulate the amount of water businesses can take from the Lake Erie Basin. Compared to the bill Kasich vetoed last June, this one cuts the limits on water withdrawals by half or more. And it sets up an advisory board to decide when a business has taken too much water.

ODNR Spokesman Carlo LoParo talks about Ohio House Bill 473

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The bill’s sponsor — Republican State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann — has also agreed to shorten the time period over which water use is averaged for some tributaries.

Carlo LoParo is spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He says the bill is a good balance between conservation and promoting job growth.

“And it puts in place some very important monitoring devices, so we know before there is a negative impact to the streams. It protects the water levels, and its sets in place some very stringent regulations that is environmentally responsible but also addresses many economic concerns.”

But the Ohio Environmental Council says more needs to be done to protect the lake and its tributaries. It says the amount of water taken from streams and rivers should be averaged every day, not over weeks or months.  And it says the bill should consider the impact of water withdrawals for each watershed and not just the entire Lake Erie Basin. That someone now required by Ohio law, which would be changed by this bill.

“And it puts in place some very important monitoring devices, so we know before there is a negative impact to the streams. It protects the water levels, and its sets in place some very stringent regulations that [are] environmentally responsible but also addresses many economic concerns.”

But the Ohio Environmental Council says more needs to be done to protect Lake Erie and its tributaries. It says the amount of water taken from streams and rivers should be averaged every day, not over a period of weeks or months And it says the bill should consider the impact of water withdrawals for each watershed and not just the entire basin. That's something now required by Ohio law, which would be loosened by this bill. 

----
Here are some key provisions of the bill: 

  • Caps on water withdrawals from Lake Erie will be set at 2.5 million gallons per day.
  • Caps on withdrawals from most rivers and streams will be set at 1 million gallons per day.
  • Caps on withdrawals from tributaries designated as "high quality streams" will be capped at 100,000 gallons per day.
  • If the watershed is larger than 100 square miles, the averaging period is 90 days.
  • For watersheds between 50 and 100 square miles, the period is reduced to 45 days.
  • For watersheds smaller than 50 square miles, there is no averaging period and businesses must get a permit to take more than 100,000 gallons a day.
  • The bill establishes an nine-member advisory board to determine when an "adverse impact" is made on the basin.

Related Links & Resources
Ohio Legislature - House Bill 473

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