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Cleveland City Council is Launching Panel on Lake Erie Water Quality

The focus of the new panel is to come up with a plan of action for dealing with things like toxic algal blooms, which have threatened the lake's western basin while also having an impact near Cleveland.

A new Cleveland City Council subcommittee is meeting for the first time today, and its focus is to figure out how to improve Lake Erie’s water quality.

Council President Kevin Kelley says he’s encouraged by the focus on the lake’s health by Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed $900 million water quality initiative. However, President Donald Trump had proposed cutting Great Lakes Restoration funds by 90 percent – then, at a rally in Michigan last week, said he would reverse that decision. Kelley says it’s a volatile issue.

“Let me just put it this way: I don’t trust anything that the President says at a rally or in a tweet until I see it in a budget document.”

Kelley says today’s meeting will set a schedule for hearings that will include scientists, the Army Corps of Engineers and people who fish on Lake Erie. He hopes to announce a plan of action for keeping the lake clean by late June – just about the time of the events marking 50 years since the Cuyahoga River Fire which prompted a national environmental movement.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.