Representatives Ryan, Joyce, Kaptur and Fudge Applaud Language to Prevent Great Lakes Algal Blooms

Jul 7, 2015 Issues: Environment

Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (OH-13), David Joyce (OH-14), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) and Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) applaud the inclusion of language in the Department of Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriation bill to evaluate the need for a Great Lakes algal bloom coordinator. Harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes affected over a half million Ohioans last year. Lake Erie supports over 117,000 fulltime jobs and provides drinking water to approximately 3 million Ohioans. This language would encourage the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate whether the Great Lakes Federal Interagency Task Force  should designate a coordinator to work with federal, state, tribal, and local governments.

“I’m proud that we are one step closer towards having a much needed coordinator within the EPA to defend our fresh water from harmful algal blooms,” said Rep. Ryan. “Our state’s abundance of fresh water is a vital resource and strategic advantage, and it’s our duty as Ohioans to ensure Lake Erie and the Great Lakes are able to continue to thrive. We must do everything in our power to combat these harmful algal blooms that threaten the health and well-being of our state.” 

"This is a crucial step forward for the Great Lakes. As we get into the thick of summer it's timely that we are doing everything we can to ensure we protect and preserve this national treasure, a source of drinking water for 40 million people," said Rep. Joyce.

“The recent heavy rainfall in Northern Ohio has raised the stakes even more on our efforts to monitor and track harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. This complex and multi-agency undertaking would benefit from the appointment of a Great Lakes algal bloom coordinator. With our top experts reporting an increasing threat of algal blooms later this summer, the urgency and importance of this kind of coordination and accountability will only continue to grow,” said Rep. Kaptur.

“We have made significant strides to improve the water quality of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes, but we must do more,” said Rep. Fudge.  “Lake Erie is a lifeline for our state, supporting a multi-billion dollar economy and supplying drinking water for many. We must do all that we can to ensure Ohioans have safe, clean water and continued economic growth.”

"Toxic algae season is upon us and it is more critical than ever that federal, state, local, international, and tribal entities work together to limit the amount of fertilizers, manure, and human sewage flowing into Lake Erie. A federal coordinator within the EPA would enhance and coordinate these efforts," said Kristy Meyer, Managing Director of Agricultural, Health & Clean Water Programs at the Ohio Environmental Council. "We need an organized approach to ensure no community ever again goes a day without water because of toxic algae."

Representatives Tim Ryan, David Joyce, Marcy Kaptur and Marcia L. Fudge introduced similar legislation in April of 2015 to require the Administrator for the EPA to appoint a coordinator for issues relating to harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes, and for other purposes (HR 1923).