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Environment

Kasich's Order To Regulate Farmland Runoff Into Lake Erie Delayed Again

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Andy Chow
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Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission votes to delay designated eight Lake Erie watersheds as “in distress.” The designation would have set rules in motion to regulate farmland runoff. ";s:

The saga to implement tougher water quality standards to stop algae blooms in Lake Erie goes on. A state commission has decided once again to delay an order issued by the governor this summer. 

The Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission split over its vote to delay Gov. John Kasich’s executive order on watersheds in western Ohio.

That order would create tougher regulations to keep fertilizer from running off farmland land and into the Lake Erie basin.

The commission wanted to see the specific rules that would be adopted. But Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler says the commission has to recognize the watersheds as in distress first.

“Every day a delay means a potential for harmful algal blooms to effect Ohioans the quicker we can get a decision made, the quicker we can get to implementation, get the rules done,” says Butler.

Farmers have had concerns about the order, including the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and former Agriculture Director David Daniels, who Kasich recently fired.

The commission was scheduled to vote on the order in July but opted to send the proposal to a task force for further review. The next commission meeting is scheduled for February 2019, when Ohio will have a new governor in office.

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