Says Ranking Member on Energy and Water Subcommitte
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), ranking member on the Energy and Water subcommittee of House Appropriations, said today the Obama Administration budget reflects a renewed focus on addressing phosphorus and nitrogen pollution in America’s waters.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget identifies nutrition pollution as “one of the nation’s most widespread and challenging environmental problems.”
Congresswoman Kaptur welcomed a proposed $15 million increase in funding for water pollution control grants under Section 106 of the Clean Water Act.
"We can't let up," she said. "The fact is, Lake Erie's in trouble due to phosphorus and nutrient pollution. I am encouraged that the budget acknowledges the need to deal with this clear and present danger to our ecosystem.
“Northern Ohio is the most sustainable place on earth because of the confluence of arable land and the largest body of fresh water in the world. But it's directly threatened by nutrient runoff that produces harmful algal blooms.
“I look forward to working together with the Obama Administration and also the state of Ohio to address this serious challenge to the health of Lake Erie."
The increased funding will support states, interstate agencies and tribes that commit to strengthening nutrient management efforts. Additionally, EPA will work to achieve water quality improvements in key watersheds across the country in partnership with states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In recent years, Kaptur spearheaded creation of the Western Lake Erie Basin Partnership, a pathbreaking freshwater quality and management effort thoughout the largest watershed that flows into the Great Lakes. The Partnership has taken a comprehensive approach to addressing nutrient runoff and other pollution issues and serves as a model organization for similar watershed management programs around the country.
EPA’s core clean water programs and grants support states in developing and implementing nutrient pollution reduction strategies. EPA also provides technical assistance and resources to help states develop water quality criteria for nutrients.
Kaptur said protecting the watershed from nutrient pollution could also reduce the need for treatment of drinking water, which is a considerable expense for communities in the Ninth District, including Cleveland, Lorain, Sandusky and Toledo.