David Miller, Deputy Communications Director, September 13, 2017
Columbus, OH – Proposed cuts to EPA clean water programs would halt progress on addressing the toxic algae threat to Lake Erie, according to a new report released by Environment Ohio. With a deadline for Congress to approve a federal budget fast approaching, Senators Brown and Portman need to urgently call for full funding of EPA to protect Lake Erie and other Ohio waterways.
The report, titled “Rough Waters Ahead,” was issued today by Environment Ohio and examined the impacts of the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to EPA water programs on Lake Erie. More specifically, the report found that the proposed 31 percent budget cut to the EPA would result in detrimental impacts to clean water efforts across Ohio, most notably in Lake Erie.
“Despite progress, we’ve still got a long way to go before Ohioans can feel completely safe to swim and recreate during the summer months on Lake Erie,” said Kristy Meyer, Vice President of Policy at the Ohio Environmental Council. “Slashing EPA’s clean water programs takes away our opportunity for progress.”
In addition to the 31 percent cut in EPA funding, the report reviewed what EPA programs have meant for Lake Erie in terms of preventing pollution, enforcing the law, restoration, and research to identify emerging threats and discover practical solutions. For example, the report states that the threat of Asian Carp to the Great Lakes would be exacerbated by EPA budget cuts.
“The fishing industry could potentially be decimated by an insurgence of Asian Carp in Lake Erie, exacerbating the toxic algae, reducing plankton that provide food for native fish, and overwhelm native fish populations,” said Meyer. “If Lake Erie is infested with Asian Carp, the lake will never be the same.”
This report comes out as our nation faces dramatic weather events across the country, from devastating hurricanes resulting in flooding in Texas and much of the southeastern United States, to raging wildfires ravaging the western United States. Northwest Ohio also is no stranger to more frequent large rain events leading to flooding. “Given our changing climate, it is imperative the EPA has the ability and funding to do it’s job of helping the region mitigate and prevent pollution problems from these large rain events,” said Meyer.
This is an opportunity for Senators Brown and Portman to play a critical role in advocating for continued resources needed to protect Lake Erie from the dangers of lapsing progress.