OPPORTUNITIES FOR CLEAN WATER IN THE GOV'S MID-BUDGET BILL
We continue to track Governor Kasich’s mid-biennium review of the state’s budget. Included in the budget bill is House Bill 490, which would transfer the Agricultural Pollution Abatement Program from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) to the Dept. of Agriculture (ODA). This as an opportunity to better address some aspects of the state’s manure management and we have proposed amendments that would do just that.
See here for more about the Agricultural Pollution Abatement Program.
House Bill 490 also contains several significant improvements that the OEC supports in the following areas:
- Enforcement of water pollution control – Increases criminal penalties for Water Pollution Control Law violations.
- Drinking water contamination from lead plumbing – Significantly reduces the amount of lead allowed in plumbing fixtures from 8% to .25%, and prohibits the sale of any plumbing product with lead content at or above that level.
- Enforcement of Oil and Gas Law- Among others, the bill: 1) expands the definition of material and substantial violation 2) Increases penalties for improper disposal of brine 3) expands who can be charged with an oil and gas law violation to include “other persons”and 4) requires reimbursement for the cost of fixing any damage.
LEGISLATION AIMS TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF EXCESS NUTRIENTS FROM FARMS IN OHIO WATERWAYS.
Ohio’s farmland is a valuable natural resource for food, fiber, and fuel production. Ohio’s rich farmland is one of our state’s biggest economic drivers as well as providing us with homegrown food throughout the seasons.
As part of their farming practices, farmers apply fertilizers and other nutrients to help their crops thrive. And when these nutrients stay on the land, they do their job very well. The problem is when those nutrients run off the land and into our lakes, rivers, and streams, and possibly into our drinking water.
A bill was introduced on June 25 in the Ohio Senate that aims to address the run-off problem. Read more.