February 14, 2020
Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) and one of the attorneys for Plaintiffs in the Lake Erie clean water litigation in federal court, said in response to Ohio EPA releasing its draft 2020 Water Quality Report, which includes a commitment to prepare a Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for reducing manure and fertilizer pollution into western Lake Erie:
“Ohio EPA’s draft plan is an important step in the right direction. This is a watershed moment. The Ohio EPA is recognizing the reality that TMDLs are required by the federal Clean Water Act and are necessary to alleviate western Lake Erie’s toxic algae bloom problems. The devil will be in the details in how Ohio EPA sets up the plan and how soon it can make a difference. The Ohio EPA’s TMDLs should be strong, enforceable, and implemented sooner rather than later to be effective in addressing the toxic algae outbreak problems.
“The U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio has made clear: Lake Erie is impaired by toxic algae outbreaks and TMDLs are required by the Clean Water Act to reduce the phosphorus pollution that is causing them.
“The public and northwest Ohio public officials are saying ‘enough is enough’ of severe toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie nearly every summer. ELPC will continue our effective legal advocacy until sufficient enforceable protections are in place and western Lake Erie water is cleaner. The stakes are too high for anything less.”