The Columbus Dispatch published the letter to the editor that I wrote about toxic algae in its web-only letters. I’m not sure how many people will see it, so I’m reposting it here:
Ohioans have known for years that more must be done to curb fertilizer and manure runoff that ends up in our lakes and streams, leading to toxic algae blooms. Algae blooms make Ohio’s waterways unusable, poison pets, and result in losses of millions of dollars in tourism revenue.
Hopefully we have reached a tipping point on this issue, now that a particularly large toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie forced Toledo officials to cut off water to half a million residents at the height of the summer tourism season. Previous legislation that set up voluntary certification for applying chemical fertilizer to fields is simply not enough. We must pass standards on application of manure to fields, including not allowing it on frozen or snow-covered ground.
Also important is the role of climate change. Climate change not only warms the water, but contributes to heavier rains that wash more fertilizer and manure runoff into the waterways. Both contribute to more severe toxic algae blooms. To address this, our state officials need to support the EPA’s carbon pollution standards and promote clean renewable sources of energy.
Sadly, Ohio is moving in the wrong direction on both these points. Besides rolling back our clean energy standards under SB 310 – the only state to do so — and enacting onerous new regulations against wind energy, Ohio is suing the EPA over its carbon emission standards – the most significant step America has taken to date to combat global climate change.
Scientists say it is highly likely that toxic algae blooms will continue to plague Ohio’s lakes until we address the conditions that create them. That means reducing both our agriculture runoff and our contribution to climate change.
Cathy Cowan Becker, Grove City