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Environment & Energy

Ohio EPA Chief says it May be Time to Regulate Farm Run-off

photo of Lake Erie
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
House Speaker Ryan Smith says he wants more discussion on the topic before attempting to regulate farming.

More than $20 million could soon be pumped into projects that help keep Lake Erie clean. Most of that money would help fund equipment that limits nutrient runoff from farmland. But there are state leaders and environmental advocates who say that’s not good enough.

The bill would increase funding for voluntary projects that battle harmful algae blooms in the Lake Erie watershed. Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler argues data shows that the voluntary programs aren’t doing enough.

“Introducing focused regulatory action must be taken we believe swiftly and appropriately to ensure we show meaningful progress in protecting our crown jewel, Lake Erie,” he said.

Republican House Speaker Ryan Smith says the cause and the fix to the algae problem isn’t clear. So he wants more discussion before implementing more regulations on farming, Ohio’s largest industry.