(Toledo, OH) A coalition of environmental groups is suing federal regulators for refusing to declare Lake Erie "impaired.
The Environmental Law & Policy Center and Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie are among the groups suing the federal EPA in U.S. District Court, challenging a decision by administrators to approve Ohio EPA’s refusal to assess whether the open waters of Lake Erie are “impaired” under the Clean Water Act. The environmental groups claim the open waters of Lake Erie should be given that designation because harmful algal blooms that form there most years are preventing those waters from meeting basic state water quality standards.
Michigan environmental regulators already have declared the lake's western basin imparied by the same algae blooms. Such a declaration would force federal and state agencies to come up with a clean-up plan and fully fund that proposal.
The lawsuit is the latest salvo in the fight, because Ohio's governor has refused to acknowledge an "impaired" designation for fear it would negatively affect tourism.