(Columbus, OH) A state legislative panel will study the health of Lake Erie.
State lawmakers from Northwest Ohio dominate the study group, making up about half of its members-- including three state senators and four Ohio House members.
The bipartisan group is seen as a countermeasure to an executive order from Governor John Kasich asking an independent state commission to designate the Maumee River Basin in distress because of phosphorus runoff that fuels toxic algae growth.
That move won the approval of environmentalists and boat captains, but angered farmers. The Soil and Water Conservation Commission ultimately put off a decision, which would have triggered tighter rules on the use of fertilizer, affecting 7,000 Northwest Ohio farmers in watersheds that empty into Lake Erie.
The study group will hold its first meeting next week in Columbus, but plans hearings in Northwest Ohio this fall.