Kasich, GOP Lawmakers Reach Compromise On Lake Erie Withdrawals

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A satellite image shows a massive algae bloom in Lake Erie's western basin. Scientists have linked algae to water withdrawals, pollution, and farm runoff.(Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
A satellite image shows a massive algae bloom in Lake Erie's western basin. Scientists have linked algae to water withdrawals, pollution, and farm runoff.(Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

A new version of a bill that was vetoed by Gov. John Kasich last year has moved one step closer to passage.

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann has reached a deal with the Governor on legislation that sets limits on how much water can be pumped out of Lake Erie by industry.

Rep. Wachtmann, a Republican from Northwest Ohio, had blasted Kasich for last year’s veto, a veto that was also supported by environmentalists and two former GOP governors.

No details of Monday’s agreement were immediately available, but the Governor said “it provides tough protections for Lake Erie and its tributary streams.”

That may be good news for Kristy Meyer of the Ohio Environmental Council, who says the bill as it stands now does not adequately protect tributaries and groundwater that drain into the lake.

“It’s kind of like a heart; you can’t cut off the capillaries to your heart, and expect the heart to continue to pump, right? If we are just protecting Lake Erie as a whole, then essentially we could start seeing some more, or larger, harmful algal blooms.”

Ohio has been fighting massive outbreaks of toxic algae blooms for the last two years.

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