|Letter to the Editor|
|Saturday, June 15, 2013 12:47 AM|
State leaders shirk responsibility to clean up the Grand Lake St. Marys
State Senator Faber and State Rep. Buchy need to do some basic research before making claims that Grand Lake St. Marys (GLSM) has cleaner water coming into the lake than before and that the lake is cleaner. The facts do not support this position. The Heidelberg University water quality monitoring station located on the Big Chickasaw River indicates Phosphorous levels are higher than ever before. In fact levels have now reached 40 times higher than acceptable levels. The levels monitored in August, September and October 2012 were some of the highest since the “Distressed Watershed” regulations came into effect.
The OEPA has again posted the lake with a health advisory due to the highest Microsystin toxin levels being reported at 17 times greater than the acceptable limits for human contact. In fact, GLSM remains the only lake in Ohio with a health advisory posting. After spending $20 million of taxpayers’ dollars, the Kasich administration has failed to cleanup the lake and eliminate the health advisory posting.
We will not see any improvements in the water quality at GLSM until our elected officials and the Kasich administration stop ignoring the root cause of the degradation of the lake. The beginning of the problem can easily be traced back 30 years ago when animal populations increased over 400 percent. Even the current “Distressed Watershed” regulations permit farmers to apply nearly eight times the nutrients needed to grow good crops.
The proposed amendment to form a Lake Facilities Authority (LFA) seems to be a way for the state to absolve itself of the responsibility to clean up the mess they have created. Those affected the most could pay higher taxes for the cleanup while the polluters pay nothing. If the county commissioners opt to form an LFA, may I suggest a tax based on the level of phosphorous in the soil (lawns included).
The ultimate solution to the degradation of the lake is simple and free to taxpayers. If your phosphorous level is above that needed to grow good crops, then you should not be permitted to apply anymore phosphorous until their soil actually requires it. This will drive the process for all landowners to manage their property. The soil samples should be taken annually and it should not take three years to become a certified nutrient applicator. Furthermore, why are the farmers in a “distressed watershed” given more lenient requirements than a large permitted animal feeding operation? An acre of ground should be managed equally everywhere.
Columbus and St. Marys