Congressman Tim Ryan Calls on EPA to Act Aggressively and Expeditiously in Clean Water Protection

Aug 5, 2014 Issues: Environment

Warren, OH – Today, Congressman Tim Ryan strongly urged the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy to act aggressively and expeditiously in clean water protection in light of the recent toxic-water scare in the Toledo area and the ongoing algae problems facing Lake Erie:

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

I write to express my concern about the 258 toxic algae reports in 2014 on Lake Erie, at state park beaches, and in Ohio public-water supplies. One of Ohio's greatest strategic advantages for economic growth and the overall health and well-being of our people is Ohio’s abundant supply of fresh water. We cannot and must not jeopardize that in any way. If we do, we endanger the health of our citizens and sacrifice the long term prospects to grow our State’s economy and lure potential businesses from states where fresh water is a scarce commodity. We must keep this advantage.

I was encouraged by the Agency’s recently finalized ‘no discharge’ rule to mitigate the dumping of sewage on the eastern half of the Lake. However, the health of Lake Erie must not continue to be at the mercy of these prolonged rule-making processes, like the nearly two years it took for this most recent finalization.

The recent toxic-water scare in the Toledo could be just the first in a long line of disastrous public health ramifications from the ongoing algae problems that Lake Erie has suffered from over the past few years. I call on the EPA to take swift action to ensure Lake Erie can provide safe drinking water for our children and families and a safe environment for tourists to visit our beaches and lakeside attractions. Lake Erie is not only an incomparable natural resource but a real driver of the regional economy. I call on the EPA to provide a transparent plan for ensuring Ohioans that our water supply is safe and Lake Erie is protected. While I acknowledge the EPA has been reluctant to do so in the past, I would also request that the EPA provide specific ways that I and my fellow Appropriations Committee members can address shortfalls or funding gaps that may inhibit your efforts in the area of clean water protection. Thank you for your consideration and hard work, I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
Tim Ryan
Member of Congress