Representatives Tim Ryan, David Joyce and Marcy Kaptur Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent Harmful Algal Blooms in Great Lakes

Apr 21, 2015 Issues: Environment

Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan, David Joyce and Marcy Kaptur today introduced bipartisan legislation to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to appoint a coordinator to address the issue of harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes,  which 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 legislation will ensure that there is a coordinator at the EPA to work with the appropriate federal agencies and state, local, tribal and foreign governments to address this critical issue affecting the state of Ohio.

“I am proud to introduce this legislation that will put a full time coordinator within the EPA to ensure our fresh water is safe from harmful algal blooms,” said Rep. Ryan. “It is our duty as Ohioans to ensure that Lake Erie and the Great Lakes are able to thrive. Ohio’s abundance of fresh water is a vital resource and strategic advantage, and it’s critical that we do everything in our power to combat these harmful algal blooms that threaten the health and well-being of our state.”

"The Great Lakes need our full time attention, so it only makes sense that we put someone on the job full time.” Rep. Joyce said "We are talking about drinking water for 40 million people, so we need to keep our eye on the ball. We can’t afford not take this step to ensure our Great Lakes are preserved and protected.

“This legislation reflects the kind of long-term strategic planning necessary to track and prevent algal blooms now and in the future,” said Rep. Kaptur. “Assigning a point person not only ensures EPA takes responsibility for our federal algal bloom response, it creates accountability. This is especially important as we move into another algal bloom season and ramp up investments in algal bloom research, tracking and prevention initiatives. I am pleased to work with Representatives Ryan and Joyce to move this proposal forward and I strongly urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to adopt this simple and urgently-needed measure without delay.”

This legislation has been endorsed by the Ohio Environmental Council, Freshwater Future, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, and the Ohio Charter Boat Association.

"No community can afford to risk even a day without water because of toxic algae," said Kristy Meyer, Managing Director of Agricultural, Health & Clean Water Programs at the Ohio Environmental Council. "Congressman Ryan, Congressman Joyce and Congresswoman Kaptur are right to propose a coordinator within the EPA to coordinate federal, state, local, international, and tribal efforts to limit the loading of phosphorus and other excessive nutrients to our Great Lake waters."

"We thank Representatives Tim Ryan, David Joyce, and Marcy Kaptur for introducing this important legislation to create a nutrient coordinator to help us solve the harmful algal crisis in Lake Erie.  We applaud this bi-partisan effort to move us forward toward renewed Great Lakes health," said Jill Ryan, Executive Director for Freshwater Future.

“Harmful algal blooms threaten the economy and quality of life for communities across the Great Lakes region. The Alliance for the Great Lakes appreciates the bi-partisan efforts of Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. David Joyce, and Rep. Marcy Kaptur to ensure that government agencies are coordinating to address this critical issue,” said Molly M. Flanagan, Vice President of Policy at the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

“We thank Reps. Tim Ryan, David Joyce and Marcy Kaptur for introducing a bill that will strengthen our efforts at stopping farm runoff and harmful algal blooms. We’re seeing results through important efforts like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but we know more needs to be done, which is why it’s essential we have an orchestra conductor who can ensure that resources are being invested in the most efficient and effective way possible,” said Chad Lord, policy director with the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

“On behalf of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, we’d like to thank Representatives, Ryan, Joyce and Kaptur for their actions to create a Nutrient Coordinator position with the EPA.  This position is the missing piece that is needed in the Great Lakes to coordinate the efforts being undertaken in the western Lake Erie basin, including ensuring the coordination and collating of monitoring data,” said Paul Pacholski, President of the Ohio Charter Boat Association.