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Lake Erie Waters Must Be Handled Responsibly

Legislation could be devastating to trubutaries.

In the past few years, I have written several columns about efforts by our state to comply with the Great Lakes Compact.

The historic agreement between seven states and two Canadian provinces is designed to protect the lakes from overuse and diversion of water to other watersheds.  As part of the compact, the legislature has been charged with passing a plan by the state to manage the waters of Lake Erie.  

An earlier bill (HB 231), which I opposed, was passed by the legislature and later vetoed by the governor. The bill, which was pushed by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, failed to protect Lake Erie from overuse and diversion of water to others. It was opposed by former governors George Voinovich and Bob Taft.
A new Lake Erie bill (HB 473) was recently passed by the legislature. I too opposed this bill along with former governors Voinovich and Taft. As I have stressed all along, it is important that we work with businesses in our state. However, the use of water from Lake Erie and its tributaries must be handled in a responsible manner to protect the health of the lake and its tributaries. For instance, it would be reasonable to allow for withdrawing more than 100,000 gallons per day from high quality streams feeding into Lake Erie. The problem is the bill allows that figure to be “averaged” over 90 days. A business could then take out millions of gallons over a few days; yet remain below the 90-day average. The result could possibly be devastating to a fragile stream that feeds Lake Erie.

I was also greatly troubled by another provision of the bill. It states that when a permit for water-withdrawal is granted, only those with a “direct economic or property interest” could appeal it in court. This would deny due process to the public, which has an interest in the health of the lake and its tributaries. I believe we need to revisit this bill and correctly address the concerns expressed by our former governors, sportsmen and businesses which rely on our lake for fishing and recreational opportunities. It is important that we all work together to always protect Lake Erie.

I hope you’ll make plans to join me for my next “Lundy Listens” town hall July 12 (Thursday) at 7 p.m. at Carlisle Township Hall (1959 Grafton Rd.). You can always contact me with state issues of concern at 614-644-5076 or by email district57@ohr.state.oh.us. I work for you and look forward to serving you.

M Flannery June 20, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I couldn't agree with you more! The health of Lake Erie and all its many tributaries is vital to the environment. As an Avon resident who lives along the French Creek I have seen first hand the damage that can be done to our fresh water supply by the careless hand of man. My family will support anyone who fights to protect our most precious natural resource.
Sandy Bihn, Lake Erie Waterkeeper June 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Water is the greatest resource Ohio has . Yet Ohioans seem to forget, for the most part, that Ohians have cheap plentiful good water. Ohians take this for granted and do not see that water is the resource that will drive Ohio's economy and vitality. If Ohio allows excess withdrawals, depletes water quality, the benefits to Ohio water will turn on us. Ohioan's need to know that Lake Erie is not deep like the other Great Lakes and is more vulnerable to the imapcts of land practices. Thank Matt for leading on issues to protect Lake Erie and Ohio's future.

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