Toledo, OH – Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced their list of impaired waters in Ohio, which does not include the open waters of Lake Erie. The Lucas County Commissioners have been a consistent voice for the inclusion of the open waters of Lake Erie as impaired. The following is a statement from the Lucas County Board of Commissioners.
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can’t have it both ways: first it agrees with the State of Michigan that the open waters of Western Lake Erie are impaired from excessive nutrients – which is plain as day, true and accurate. And today we learn that the U.S. EPA also agrees with the State of Ohio with the opposite position, in which the same water body is not impaired. Indefensible. Foot-dragging by the Trump and Kasich Administrations put Toledo and Lucas County citizens in harm’s way. Our communities need leadership to address sources of nutrients entering our lake. We are weeks away from another algal bloom season and the concerns that come with it, including contaminated drinking water and negative economic impacts to recreation and tourism.
In 2014, we witnessed first-hand how harmful algal blooms containing toxic microcystin impacted the daily lives of Lucas County residents, as over 500,000 people went without clean drinking water for nearly three days. Lucas County has been a leader at the local level with programs such as the Nutrient Source Inventory Tool, Moving Forward: Legal Tools and Solutions to Harmful Algal Blooms and our continued advocacy at both the state and federal level. These programs will not be as effective without state and federal leadership and the recognition of Lake Erie as impaired. The health of Lake Erie is too important to the millions of people who draw their drinking water from it and who rely on a healthy Lake Erie for their livelihood.”