Bipartisan Water-Phosphorus Bills Have First Hearings

The bipartisan water bills targeting the phosphorus discharges in Lake Erie had their first hearing in their respective chambers this week. Senate Bill 299 and House Bill 643 each enjoyed sponsor testimony.

In the Senate, Senators Randy Gardner and Sean O’Brien each presented sponsor testimony (Gardner testimony and O’Brien testimony). The House heard sponsor testimony from Reps. Steve and John Patterson.

The bills are heavily based on a white paper entitled, “Summary of Findings and Strategies to Move Toward a 40% Phosphorous Reduction” from 2017. The bills are not regulatory bills but are instead targeted funding solution bills providing both general revenue funding and capital funding for a variety of strategies that scientists, Lake Erie advocates, agriculture leaders, and others believe can help achieve Ohio’s phosphorus reduction goals.

A reduction of phosphorus loading by 40% by 2025, and an aspirational goal of 20% by the year 2020, are the stated targets. 5/17/2018