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Group Says Farmers Taking Initiative On Clean Water Without Regulations

Andy Chow
Lake Erie

The Kasich administration says it’s disappointed in a commission’s vote yesterday to delay action on the governor’s executive order creating tougher rules on farm runoff to clean Lake Erie. But farmers say they’re already implementing water quality practices so the state still has time to work on the issue.

Ohio Farm Bureau president Frank Burkett says farmers are already taking major steps to manage their nutrients, so fertilizer doesn’t run off their land and contribute to toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie.

“And they will do that voluntarily or they’ll do them in some of the legislation that’s already been passed in a regulatory environment but it needs to be a transparent process,” says Burkett.

But Kasich has said the algae problem in Lake Erie needs to be addressed now and that current regulations aren’t enough.

The Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission split over its vote to delay Kasich’s executive order on watersheds in western Ohio, which would have created tougher standards for farmland runoff.

That was the second time the commission decided to delay a vote on the executive order. The next time the commission is set to meet is in February 2019, when Kasich will no longer be in office.

Former Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels, who Kasich recently fired, also had concerns about the order. Farmers say there are not enough resources to comply with the new regulations.

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