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State Commission Again Delays Order to Reduce Runoff That Is Hurting Lake Erie

Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission

The saga to implement tougher water quality standards to stop algae blooms in Lake Erie goes on. A state commission has decided once again to delay an order issued by the governor this summer. 

The Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission split over its vote to delay Gov. John Kasich’s executive order on watersheds in western Ohio.

That order would create tougher regulations to keep fertilizer from running off farm land and into the Lake Erie basin.

The commission wanted to see the specific rules that would be adopted. But Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said the commission has to recognize the watersheds as in distress first.

“Every day a delay means a potential for harmful algal blooms to effect Ohioans," Butler said. "The quicker we can get a decision made, the quicker we can get to implementation, get the rules done.”

Farmers have had concerns about the order, including the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and former Agriculture Director David Daniels, who Kasich recently fired.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.