A day after the Ohio EPA declared the western end of Lake Erie to be an impaired wateryway, agency director Craig Butler said, "The time has come that we can't rely on voluntary programs" to reduce nutrient runoff that feeds algal blooms in the lake, reported Associated Press. To address the problem, the state announced a set of new proposals to reduce runoff from farms and wastewater plants.
An investigation by activist groups Mighty Earth and ActionAid USA challenges the notion of biodiesel as the environmentally responsible fuel of the future. Burned: Deception, Deforestation and America’s Biodiesel Policy claims that growing demand for biodiesel in the U.S. contributes to a host of problems, from deforestation in Argentina and Indonesia to algae blooms in Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone.
The algal bloom in Lake Erie this summer, fed in part by agricultural runoff, was roughly the same size as in 2013, the third-most severe bloom in 15 years of federal records, said the Associated Press.
State officials in Michigan drafted a plan that relies on voluntary action by farmers to reduce phosphorus runoff from fields that eventually flows into Lake Erie, where nutrient pollution feeds algal blooms in the western end of the lake, reports MLive Media Group.
Environmental groups in Michigan and Ohio filed suit against the EPA, seeking a court order for the agency to decide whether water quality in western Lake Erie is impaired. The designation would lead to pollution regulations aimed at preventing algae blooms, which can be toxic, said the Associated Press.
The USDA will invest $41 million over three years to clean up the Western Lake Erie Basin, which supplies water to farmers in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week.
Six months after the largest algae bloom on record in Lake Erie, Canada and the United States set a target of a 40-percent reduction in phosphorus runoff into the lake. The next step is for the nations to develop plans by February 2018 to meet their targets, which are based on 2008 levels.
The massive algae bloom plaguing Lake Erie again this summer is now turning away anglers, says the Detroit Free Press.
Farmers in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan are eligible for an additional $5 million in cost-share money for projects that will reduce nutrient runoff into western Lake Erie, said the USDA.
The Ohio House and Senate are expected to vote this week on legislation intended to reduce toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie by reducing farm runoff, says the Associated Press.