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Local governments speak out for real solutions on toxic algae

Ohio Environmental Council, March 23, 2017

Lorain, OH – This past week, the Lorain County Board of Commissioners and the cities of Lorain and Elyria spoke up in the fight against toxic algae. All three passed resolutions calling for increased action from the state to help reduce the risk of toxic algae that threatens Lake Erie nearly every summer. The main culprit behind the toxic green blob is runoff pollution from large-scale industrial agriculture.

Elyria Councilman Marcus Madison is concerned not enough is being done to efficiently combat toxic algae.

“The issue of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie not only endangers our drinking water source, but it also negatively affects business, tourism, and our ecosystem. We must continue to drastically limit the amount of phosphorus entering our waterways if we want Lake Erie to be safe.”

The Ohio Environmental Council is a nonprofit advocacy organization that has been working with state agencies, business, and community leaders on this issue for a number of years. Max Schaefer, OEC’s Northeast Regional Coordinator and lifelong Lorain resident was pleased, but not surprised to see the passage of these resolutions across Lorain County.

“I’m proud to see that local leaders understand just how important Lake Erie is to our economy and public health,” he said. “Not only does Lake Erie provide drinking water to millions of Ohioans, but it is also tied to the success of hundreds of small businesses in our region.”

The heart of the resolution calls for commonsense safeguards that effectively curbs algae causing pollution by ensuring farmers adopt conservation practices and use the right amount of fertilizer and manure. The resolutions also call for improving compliance, and establishing limits on the amount of pollution allowed in Ohio’s streams.

The Ohio Environmental Council’s Director of Clean Water, Adam Rissien, believes these solutions are not only imperative to keeping our lake and drinking water safe, but that they are also developed to keep the farmers in mind.

“These solutions will level the playing field for all the farmers working hard to prevent toxic algae so they don’t carry the weight of the bad actors,” said Rissien. “This is as much about fairness as it is protecting Lake Erie.”

Lorain City Council passed the resolution on Monday, and Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer was a vocal proponent of its passage. He stated he understands how important this is, not only to the health of Lorain’s citizens, but also to the economy of Ohio as well.

“Protecting Lake Erie is not a political issue; it is a moral, health, and safety issue,” he said. The City of Lorain is proud to unite with the Ohio Environmental Council in advocating for a clean Lake Erie. Our region’s future depends on it.”