OREGON, Ohio - Ohio's Democratic leaders are urging Governor John Kasich to take steps to stop the Toledo-area's toxic algal blooms and prevent future water crises.
Both Republicans and Democrats who make up the Lake Erie Legislative Caucus met Friday at Maumee Bay State Park to talk about Lake Erie's continued algae problem and how they can prevent future public health emergencies.
Lawmakers urged Gov. Kasich to immediately declare the Maumee Watershed as a "distressed watershed" to begin the process of curbing harmful chemical pollution in Lake Erie.
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"To seriously address harmful algal blooms in our state requires a firm commitment to significant reform from all parties involved," said Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo). My colleagues and I are committed, and we know that the citizens of the Lake Erie region and of Ohio are committed. We hope now that the Governor and elected officials throughout the region will join in this commitment and we can all begin to work together to solve this crisis together."
Fedor also called on the governor to convene a multi-state task of Lake Erie state governors to develop long-term agricultural practices to ensure the sustainability of the Great Lake.
Democrats also said the Ohio EPA should heed the U.S. EPA's guidelines on establishing open Lake Erie waters as an impaired waterways, so the agency could begin regulating the amount of chemicals that flow into the lake.