Ohio EPA Director Calls For Farm Runoff Regulations To Clean Lake Erie

Jun 20, 2018

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 helps limit nutrient runoff from farmland.

But state leaders and environmental advocates say that’s still not good enough.

The bill would increase funding to voluntary projects that battle harmful algal 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,” Butler 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.

Research by the Ohio EPA found that voluntary measures to reduce fertilizer runoff have failed to decrease pollutants in Lake Erie. Environmental groups have called for legislation requiring farmers to make further changes to their practices.