Three years ago, a shocking event occurred: Toledo, a major Great Lakes city, had to ban drinking the water supply it draws from the lakes for two and half days. A few weeks later residents of Pelee Island, Ontario faced a similar ban that lasted nearly two weeks.
Lake Erie – and every Great Lake – ought to be clean and safe for all people, not so polluted that it is a threat to our health and our regional economy.
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To be delivered to Governor John Kasich, Ohio; Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan; Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario
To whom it may concern:
Two years ago, the Governors of Ohio and Michigan joined with the Premier of Ontario to commit to reducing the amount of runoff pollution, specifically phosphorus, flowing into western Lake Erie by 40 percent. The commitment marked a promise to the people of Lake Erie — a promise of a lake nearly free of harmful algal blooms and a significant reduction in risk to people and the lake.
We are concerned about the slow progress by Ohio, Michigan and Ontario on implementing the necessary actions to deliver on this commitment. Researchers have forecast yet another summer of severe harmful algal blooms. And, for the millions of people who live along Lake Erie, this means another summer of concern over the safety of the water in Lake Erie. No one living in a Great Lakes city should have to anxiously wonder if their tap water is safe to drink or if the water at the local beach is safe for children and pets to swim.
We the undersigned urge you to take immediate action, within the next 12 months, on the most basic steps to jump start progress toward a healthy Lake Erie:
- Completely ban manure and fertilizer spreading on frozen or saturated ground,
- Require comprehensive nutrient reduction plans by all farms in the Lake Erie basin that result in clean, not polluted, water coming off of farm fields, and
- Improve water quality monitoring of the waterways flowing into Lake Erie.