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Environment & Energy

Ohio EPA Says It'll Work With Farmers, Environmentalists on New Laws to Protect Lake Erie

Algae around a dock at kelley's Island
Ohio EPA
Algae at Kelley's Island, Lake Erie

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is asking the General Assembly to expand the power of state regulators over a specific source of water pollution affecting Lake Erie. 

 

Farm Bureau spokesman Joe Cornley
Credit Ohio Farm Bureau
Ohio Farm Bureau spokesman Joe Cornley says there are alternatives to regulation.

The Kasich Administration is declaring western Lake Erie impaired due to high levels of chemicals that cause algae growth -- especially phosphorus from fertilizer. The Ohio EPA wants state legislators to give it more authority over farm practices. 

Ohio Farm Bureau spokesman Joe Cornley says more study of the nature of the problems would be better.

“Certainly we need standards. The public needs to be confident that the challenges are being addressed. But the idea that the only way to do that is through regulation is not the case.”

OEPA Director Craig Butler
Credit OHIO EPA
The EPA's Craig Butler says the agency wants to work with all stakeholders to craft the law

Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler says the legislation is being crafted to incorporate new information and ideas.

“This bill is a skeleton. We want to introduce the bill and start the conversation with all the ag producer groups and all the other environmental groups and others to say: How are we going to get this done?'

Action on the legislation is expected to begin in May.