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Kasich Signs Executive Order to Further Protect Lake Erie

COLUMBUS - Today Governor John R. Kasich signed an executive order to require Ohio EPA to create emergency rules that will further protect Lake Erie, its aquatic life and the fishing industry, while ensuring shipping can continue in the Cuyahoga River.

The executive order provides the Ohio EPA Director the tools needed to prohibit open lake disposal of dredge material in Lake Erie if:

  • The dredge material could result in higher levels of a chemical in fish that bioaccumulates throughout the food chain, such as PCBs, or
  • The disposal of dredge material would violate any international treaties or compacts.

One result of the action will be to ensure that dredge material from the Cleveland Harbor is disposed of in a confined disposal facility. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' own sampling data shows that if sediment from the harbor is disposed of in Lake Erie, it would result in an increased PCB bioaccumulation in the impacted region of Lake Erie.

Over the past four years, Ohio has made significant progress in protecting the lake, including:

  • Restricting water withdrawals and prohibiting diversions from the Lake Erie watershed;
  • Enacting new regulations on fertilizer application to reduce the nutrient runoff that contributes to algal blooms;
  • Developing beneficial use programs that will reduce open-water dumping of Maumee River dredge material and prohibiting open-water dumping of Cuyahoga River dredge material;
  • Banning oil and gas production under Lake Erie; and
  • Helping combat invasive species via mutual aid agreements with the seven other Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces.

Details on today's announcements can be found in this fact sheet.