Bill bolsters fight against dumping

Capital improvements bill has $10M to fight open lake dumping
Tom Jackson
Mar 19, 2014
Ohio’s new capital improvements budget will include $10 million to pay for projects that combat the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ open lake dumping.

The inclusion of the money for the new Healthy Lake Erie Initiative was announced by state Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green. Gardner also spearheaded a similar Healthy Lake Erie Fund a few years ago that had $3 million to deal with water runoff issues.

The Army Corps of Engineers regularly dredges up dirt from Lake Erie and its navigable tributaries as part of its efforts to keep shipping channels open.

It has long been a sore point with environmentalists that the corps dumps the dirt back into the lake, instead of figuring out a way to deposit it on dry land. Environmentalists argue that open lake dumping pollutes the lake and helps generate harmful algal blooms.

The controversy heated up in recent weeks, after the announcement the Army Corps of Engineers plans to begin dumping contaminated dredge from the Cuyahoga River off Cleveland’s shore, near the intake valves that supply water for the city.

Gardner said the money will be used to explore ways to use dredged materials in useful ways, such as in preserving wetlands or putting it on farm fields.

Kristy Meyer, managing director of agricultural and clean water programs at the Ohio Environmental Council, said the initiative will go over well.

“I think it’s fantastic that Sen. Gardner is showing leadership on these issues,” she said. “I do think that this is a good amount of money to start talking about doing some pilot projects, exploring beneficial reuse a bit more, seeing if there are other opportunities”

The new Capital Appropriations Budget was introduced Tuesday in the Ohio House. Gardner said he expects the measure to speed quickly through the Ohio General Assembly.

The announcement from Gardner’s office includes a quotation from Ohio Department of Natural resource director Jim Zehringer, signaling the governor’s office is on board.

“Protecting Lake Erie remains a top priority for Gov. Kasich’s administration,” Zehringer said.

Gardner said he expects the bill to be approved and signed into law in the next two weeks.

Comments

JudgeMeNot

Dumping contaminated dredge on farm fields seems like a good idea.

Stop It

Until it runs off back into the lake. ☠

AJ Oliver

Hey Tom - some pretty sketchy wording there. (I know the headline is not your fault.) The state is not "fighting" or "combating" the feds dumping of spoils in the open lake. They are wimpily looking at ways to study how to "ameliorate" it, at best. I'm sure the libertarians have a easy and fool-proof solution to the pollution of Lake Erie, which would be . . . . ?

Contango

Nothing quite as expensively elegant as having one set of taxpayer supported bureaucrats being funded with taxpayer dollars in order to battle another set of taxpayer supported bureaucrats. (Ain't socialism grand?)

As John Lennon so famously sang: "We'd all love to see the plan."

pntbutterandjelly

Maybe we could sell this contaminated soil to China so they could manufacture toys with it and send it back to children in the U.S. (Capitalism without restraints, intervention, laws, rules, regulations or checks and balances is what caused the contaminants to be in the soil in the first place.)The Army Corp.of Engineers doing the dredging "for free" is another form of subsidization and that my friends is part and parcel with "socialism". Pick you poison...either no governmental intervention (socialism)or move to....(where?)(I'm quite sure that wherever that "somewhere" is...there are people ruling/governing the residents there too.) "Socialism" is ONLY a matter of degrees.

Contango

Re: "contaminants to be in the soil in the first place,"

If true, then Soviet-era (too much govt.) produced contamination would be the opposite side of the coin.

See: Tragedy of the Commons.

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Re: "'Socialism' is ONLY a matter of degrees."

Agree.

Someone once said: Socialism is like putting poison in a child's milk, the less the better.

And yes, we have a mixed economy and IMO, over the past several decades we've gone too far to the collectivist side.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

KURTje

Listen to what pntbutterand said.