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Government & Politics

Portman says the Army Corps Should Get the Message: No Dumping

a photo of Rob Portman

  U.S. Sen.Rob Portman says he remains opposed to the Army Corps of Engineers dumping sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga River into Lake Erie, and is incredulous that the corps keeps proposing that. 

He and fellow Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown both put language into the last federal spending bill that prohibits the corps from using any of that money for open lake dumping.

"You’d think they’d get the message by now, because we’ve all been clear – the Ohio EPA and the Congress -- for this fiscal year they can’t spend money on dumping in the lake.  They still insist that it’s safe to dump in the lake. It’s a risk to the environment, particularly at a time when we’re fighting these algal blooms.  We want to be sure the lake is clean for drinking water, that it’s able to be used for recreation and for fishing.” 

Port of Cleveland officials proposed the corps ban open lake dumping as part of its annual report to Congress.  But the corps rejected that, insisting PCB levels in sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga River are lower than from years past, and PCB levels in fish would not “meaningfully increase."   

A corps spokesman says, however, it has no intention of putting sediment into open waters without a state water quality certification from the Ohio EPA, something the state has denied before.