On Wednesday, Governor Kasich signed an Executive Order, Taking Steps to Protect Lake Erie, that would tighten regulations on farming operations in newly-designated “watersheds in distress.”
The order directs the Department of Agriculture to designate eight different Lake Erie watersheds in distress. Then new rules would be required to be in place prior to the 2020 crop year. Farmers operating in the designated areas would have to adopt management plans that minimize nutrient runoff.
There was great concern that the executive order would include a statewide phosphorus discharge limit for industrial dischargers. Due to OMA advocacy activity, particularly the OMA Environment Committee and its working group on phosphorus, those provisions were not included in the final order.
There is still a concern that commercial fertilizer manufacturers will be negatively impacted depending on what the nutrient management plans look like when they are established.
You can view a fact sheet about the executive order and see an analysis by OMA environmental counsel here.
Thank you to the members who worked on this issue. 7/12/2018