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Senator Brown Introduces Two Bills to Curtail Algal Blooms in Lake Erie

Special to The Truth

State Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) recently introduced two pieces of legislation to regulate the application of fertilizer and manure in Ohio and address the long-term health of Lake Erie.

Senate Bills 303 and 304 aim to decrease the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen that flow from Ohio’s farms to Lake Erie and Ohio’s waterways. Studies have established that high levels of those substances, which are found in fertilizer and manure, feed the toxic algal blooms that have plagued the lake, particularly its western basin.

SB 303 implements more sustainable manure application standards at large livestock operations, by:

·         Requiring that owners or operators of animal feeding facilities file annual reports with the Ohio Department of Agriculture detailing the total amount and location of manure applied on their fields, and of the manure sold or transferred to other parties.

·         Requiring that certain livestock producers develop and follow plans to prevent agricultural pollution.

·         Strengthening and streamlining the enforcement of the law.

“By now, we should recognize the effects that nutrient runoff has on our waterways,” said Senator Brown. “We can’t protect Lake Erie — and Northwest Ohioans’ drinking water — without investing in policy that curbs pollution at its source. Furthermore, lack of such plans undermines the efforts of farmers who already invest significant resources to protect water quality.”

SB 304, jointly sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights), addresses application standards of fertilizer and manure on agricultural fields in the western basin of Lake Erie. The bill requires that fertilizer and manure must be applied to fields in the region at the agronomic rate, which is the amount needed for crops to achieve optimal growth while minimizing the potential for nutrient runoff. Farms already in operation at the passage of this law would have two years to adjust to the new criteria for manure application. State Representative Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) sponsors companion legislation (House Bill 655) in the Ohio House.

“We have been working with the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus for a while to protect the drinking water supply of the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who reside by the lake,” said Senator Yuko. “Toxic algal blooms are negatively affecting the safety of our waters as well as our tourism industry. Ultimately, we have to protect our lake.”


Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:12 -0700.

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