Adam Rissien, August 6, 2014
Alliance for the Great Lakes * American Rivers * Environment Ohio * Freshwater Future * Lake Erie Charter Boat Association *
Lake Erie Waterkeeper Inc. * Ohio Environmental Council* National Wildlife Federation * Sierra Club
Groups urge swift action to reduce nutrient pollution, protect Great Lakes
Toledo drinking water crisis showcases pollution threat, urgent need for action
Although the immediate crisis in the city of Toledo has passed, the threat to drinking water supplies in Toledo and other Lake Erie communities has not. The same factors that led to nearly 500,000 Lake Erie residents not being able to drink the water for two days will return until measurable reductions in nutrients, particularly phosphorus, are implemented on a clear and swift timetable.
Nutrient pollution is a clear danger not only to our drinking water, but our way of life and economic well-being. While the Great Lakes region is focusing on developing a “blue economy” for the Midwest, we must realize that this new economic future cannot stand with national headlines declaring Great Lakes water unsafe to drink. Until we stop polluting our lakes, our economy, drinking water and way of life are in jeopardy.
The algal bloom “season” on Lake Erie is just getting under way and is forecast to continue into October. Due to previous damage to the lake, invasive zebra and quagga mussles that exacerbate the concentration and intensity, and the effects of a changing climate, the nutrient pollution problem will likely get worse if we do nothing. This is a problem that is being felt most acutely in Lake Erie, but it is well entrenched in locations throughout the Great Lakes region.
Fortunately, the problem is not out of our control. It is preventable. It is unacceptable that our region has chosen to pollute Lake Erie so significantly that drinking water for approximately 11 million Americans and Canadians is at risk. We can change this. Swift action by the governors of Great Lakes states and Premier of Ontario is needed to implement measurable reductions in nutrients, particularly phosphorus, on a clear timetable to protect our region’s health, economy and quality of life.
Read the groups’ recommendations.
Adam Rissien, Ohio Environmental Council: Office: (614) 487-5832, Cell: (614) 706-9374, ARissien@theOEC.org
Sandy Bihn, Lake Erie Waterkeeper: Office: (419) 691-3788, Cell: (419) 367-1691, SandyLakeErie@aol.com
Paul Pacholski, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association: (419) 340-0076, CaptPaul@accesstoledo.com
Jennifer Craddick, Alliance for the Great Lakes: (312) 445-9760, JCraddick@greatlakes.org
Melissa Damaschke, Sierra Club, Great Lakes Office: Office: (313) 965-0055, Cell: (248) 990-1688, Melissa.Damaschke@sierraclub.org
Marc Smith, National Wildlife Federation: Office: (734) 887-7116, Cell: (734) 255-5413, MSmith@nwf.org
Katie Rousseau, American Rivers: (419) 215-7748, KRousseau@americanrivers.org
Cheryl Mendoza, Freshwater Future: (231) 571-5001, Cheryl@freshwaterfuture.org
Christian Adams, Environment Ohio: Office: (614) 460-8732, Cell: (513) 432-4304 CAdams@environmentohio.org