Seven conservation groups from the Great Lakes region are threatening to sue the U.S. EPA, saying it has failed to enforce the Clean Water Act in Ohio.
The conservation groups are accusing the EPA of “foot-dragging” and ignoring the threat of toxic algae blooms, which affect drinking water and wildlife.
Frank Szollosi, with the National Wildlife Federation, says it’s within the EPA’s power to hold states accountable for maintaining water quality. He says listing the open waters of Lake Erie as “impaired” would attract better research and more funding.
“We need to understand how much nutrients are in the western basin of Lake Erie in its entirety. And we need to track back the sources of those nutrients to their origination point,” Szollosi said.
Heidi Griesmer is a spokeswoman for the Ohio EPA. She says getting the federal “impaired” designation is unnecessary.
“We have invested more than $2 billion in the Lake Erie watershed since 2011 to improve water quality and tackle key wastewater and drinking water infrastructure issues,” said Griesmer.
Griesmer says the Ohio EPA has already implemented several policy and legislative reforms.