Lake Erie / Water Quality

US won’t force Ohio to label Lake Erie ‘impaired’

Harmful algae bloom photographed in the summer of 2011 (credit: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory).

TOLEDO — “Documents released late Monday show the federal government won’t compel the state to declare Ohio’s portion of western Lake Erie as impaired, a move that environmentalists and Lucas County commissioners believe will hurt the lake’s future water quality.

And, in a separate-but-related matter, the Trump Administration released its 2018 budget plan that — once again — calls for the elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which since 2009 has provided roughly $300 million a year in new money for water quality improvement efforts from Duluth to Montreal. Western Lake Erie — the warmest, shallowest, and most biologically active area for region’s $7 billion fishery — stands to be hit hard by that decision.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency quietly issued a long-awaited decision regarding Lake Erie’s proposed impairment designation for Ohio on Friday, just days after environmentalists filed a second federal lawsuit demanding a decision. By law, the agency was supposed to issue a ruling back in November.”

— Tom Henry, Toledo Blade

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