Brown Introduces Two Bills to Curtail Algal Blooms in Lake
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.
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.”
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.”