Gov. Mike DeWine says it’s time for the state to do more to protect what he calls the jewel of Ohio -- Lake Erie. Those efforts will likely include working with farmers to deal with runoff.
In his State of the State, DeWine pointed to nutrient pollution as a factor in the dwindling health of Lake Erie, but avoided discussing farmland runoff, where a large portion of the nutrients come from.
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation says they're ready to work with the state on what the next steps might be to help keep Lake Erie clean. In the final year of Gov. John Kasich's administration, farmers criticized the governor for not having an open dialogue with the agriculture community.
The group's Jack Irvin says, in the past, farmers were not getting a large portion of the funding allotted towards keeping the lake clean.
“It feels like we get 100% of the blame which we don’t feel that’s true at all but if only 1% of the resources are going towards it it doesn’t seem like the rhetoric and the resources seem to match up," says Irvin.
DeWine discussed a new fund for clean water initiatives but did not lay out specifics on keeping Lake Erie clean. Those details are expected in his budget release next week.