Ohio House Algae Bloom Proposal Differs from Senate's, Governor's Bills

Flickr.com photo by NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
Flickr.com photo by NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
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Both the House and Senate bills limit when farmers can spread fertilizer and manure on their fields-such as when the soil is frozen or covered in snow, or in some cases when rain is in the forecast.

The idea is to prevent phosphorous and nitrogen from finding its way into rivers and streams, and being carried to Lake Erie, where can fuel algae blooms.

But the House version of the bill eases some restrictions. For instance, the House bill makes it more difficult to levy civil penalties against farmers who don't comply. That differs from the Senate-passed bill and from measures laid out in the governor's budget proposal.

Also, the governor's budget and Senate bill restrict dumping soil dredged from harbors and rivers into Lake Erie. But the House version applies those restrictions only on the Maumee Basin at the western end of the lake.

That's where algae blooms last summer left 400,000 people in the Toledo area without clean drinking water.

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