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Monday, March 31, 2014

Environment - "Ohio mulls fertilizer rule in Lake Erie algae fight"

An AP story in the FWJG today reports:

TOLEDO – A new rule being considered by Ohio lawmakers would impact farmers and take a step toward reducing toxic algae in Lake Erie.

The proposal would require large farm operations to only apply synthetic or chemical fertilizers on their land if it’s done by someone certified by the state or working with someone who is certified.

The goal is to cut down on the amount of fertilizer that runs off fields into streams and rivers and then winds up in Lake Erie.

Phosphorus from farm fertilizer runoff and sewage treatment plants feed the algae that leave behind toxins that can kill animals and foul drinking water.

Algae blooms during warm-weather months in recent years have turned the lake’s water into a pea soup color. They’ve become a threat to the lake’s tourism and fishing industries and toxins produced by the algae have contributed to oxygen-deprived dead zones where fish can’t survive.

The bill, which would take effect in 2017, gained approval from the House agriculture committee on Tuesday after earlier passing through the Ohio Senate. The proposal would apply to farm operations with at least 50 noncontiguous acres. * * *

In another change, the state’s agriculture and natural resources departments want to bring all oversight of farmers applying manure under a single agency.

As of now, the agriculture department regulates manure management only of large livestock farms. The new proposal would allow the agriculture department to also oversee small livestock farms.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 31, 2014 09:48 AM
Posted to Environment