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Kasich to sign bill to fight algal blooms

Tom Jackson • May 20, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Gov. John Kasich plans to sign a new measure requiring farmers to obtain training in properly applying fertilizer to farm fields.

It’s one of the measures the Kasich administration has come up with to try to battle harmful algal blooms.

Senate Bill 150 would require one person from each farm operation to become certified by the state in the proper application of fertilizer. The courses will be set up by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The measure, modeled on a similar certification program for pesticides, would take effect in 2017.

Kasich’s spokesman, Rob Nichols, said Monday that Kasich will sign the measure, allowing it to become law. The Ohio Senate voted to approve House amendments on May 7, sending it to the governor’s desk.

“He’ll sign it, but I’m not exactly sure when yet” Nichols said.

Fertilizer runoff is believed to be one of the sources of nutrients that feed harmful algal blooms. Lake Erie suffered from an especially serious harmful algal bloom in 2011.

Kasich, who took office in 2011, has taken several steps to signal that the health of Lake Erie is one of his top priorities.

His first veto of an entire bill came in July 2011, when he axed a bill to enact Ohio’s participation in the Great Lakes Compact, an agreement by Great Lakes states and Canadian provides to protect the Great Lakes. The governor’s veto forced lawmakers to rewrite the bill to strengthen provisions on withdrawals of water from Lake Erie.

“Ohio’s legislation lacks clear standards for conservation and withdrawals and does not allow for sufficient evaluation and monitoring of withdrawals or usage,” Kasich said in his veto message.

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