Sherrod Brown seeking conservation money for Ohio

Funding would be used to fight harmful algal blooms
Tom Jackson
Aug 10, 2014

 

jackson@sanduskyregister.com

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, hopes a provision he put in the latest farm bill will help Ohio obtain millions of dollars of additional conservation funds designed to help the state fight harmful algal blooms.

Brown is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and says he's the only Ohioan to sit on the panel in more than four decades.

He also was a member of the farm bill's conference committee — the select band of lawmakers charged with hammering out the final version of the bill.

Brown says he helped create the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which provides $1.2 billion over five years to provide for clean soil and water.

Ohio has joined two other states, Michigan and Indiana, in applying for $20 million to aid efforts to clean up Lake Erie, said Meghan Dubyak, a spokeswoman for Brown. Ohio would get about $13 million of that, she said. The application is called the The Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative.

It's not certain yet that Ohio will get the money, although it's hard to see how federal officials could turn Ohio down with offending common sense, particularly after Toledo's recent water emergency. 

Brown has made it clear he wants to see Ohio get the grant. He spoke this week to Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture in President Obama's cabinet. 

While the proposal has advanced to serious consideration, the Department of Agriculture won't make a final decision on the tri-state application until later this year, Dubyak said. The Department of Agriculture, however, has designated the Great Lakes as one of eight "Critical Conservation Areas" around the country.

Dubyak said that if Ohio gets the money, it would be used to work with farmers and identify sources of the nutrients that feed algal blooms and to apply other conservation practices.

Farm officials want to take steps to reduce phosphorus going into the lake, so they would use the money for steps such as encouraging farmers to plant grass buffer strips, but they also are interested in new ideas, said Chris Coulon, public affairs specialist for the Columbus office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a Department of Agriculture agency.

"We're looking for innovation," Coulson said.

The Department of Agriculture also is interested in monitoring the results of conservation techniques, Coulon said. 

"We are trying to get down to what is working and what is not," Coulon said.

Comments

Tionterly1942

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Factitious

The money will help but what we really need are laws and enforcement to to stop the pollution.

Blackberry Phale

More laws, yeah good idea. What we need is more common sense.

Factitious

Common sense says we should not pollute yet here we are. Conservatives love to hate the EPA and want you to believe laws and regulations are the problem, but they're just pimps for the greedy selfish people who are the problem. They pollute because the law permits it, and because the law is not enforced. They will not stop voluntarily; they must be stopped. We need to fix the law and we need to enforce it.

Really are you ...

From what was said earlier from previous algae bloom articles. Michigan has not fixed their sewage problems yet. Feeder streams to Lake Erie need to supply clean water. This problem needs to be corrected from every angle. Not just one corrective action will solve this problem. But it can be done. What was it? The Cuyahoga River that was so polluted it caught fire?

Really are you ...

And as for "We are looking for innovation, Coulson said." IMO that is a line of BS.

sugar

This is NOT a new problem, we've known that fertilizers cause issues, it's not pollution though. So WTF has anyone in DC including life politician socialist Sherrod done? Nothing! Yet they keep spending our money. Useless fu**s

SamAdams

There are cost-effective alternatives to those fertilizers that cause such a high level of phosphorous in run-off. In fact, one of them is made locally (in Milan, Ohio). Why not educate farmers as to alternatives rather than fight a losing battle by cleaning up the lake over and over and over again? Why not let farmers deal with the matter at hand rather than adding to their problems by extra plantings and/or taking away pieces of arable land?

Oh, wait: It might actually make sense and save money! God forbid Sherrod Brown of all Senators actually consider any such thing!

KURTje

Some great points made here. Sadly you cant legislate morality . Raw sewage, big Agriculture, lawn fertilizers ...yeah. Now most get bad water. No matter what political stripe, all lose . Man is the only animal that dirties his own nest.