Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Groups Sue EPA Over Lake Erie


A group of businesses, conservation advocates and sportsmen groups have sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an effort to force the EPA to act on Ohio’s decision not to identify Lake Erie as “impaired” under the Clean Water Act. Ohio submitted a list of impaired waters to the EPA in October 2016. According to federal law, the EPA must accept or deny the list within 30 days. So far, the EPA has not acted on the list.

The coalition is calling on the EPA to act and reject Ohio’s list, and instead designate all of western Lake Erie as impaired. The area is plagued each year by algal blooms: In 2014, an algal bloom poisoned drinking water for more than 400,000 people in Toledo, Ohio.

“The waters of the Great Lakes are the most critical asset we have,” says Dan Eichinger, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “We are committed to finding a solution to Lake Erie algae, and we can't find a solution until we acknowledge the problem and commit to taking action to solve it.”

Although the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) listed it’s portion of Lake Erie’s open waters as impaired, and the EPA endorsed it, Ohio chose not to list Lake Erie on its impaired list. Under the Clean Water Act, waters designated as “impaired” means water quality does not meet legal standards for fishing, swimming and drinking, and requires state and federal action to restore water health.

Members of the coalition suing the EPA include: Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, the Lake Erie Foundation, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the National Wildlife Federation and the Ohio Environmental Council.

Read the lawsuit here:

[Photo by NOAA/Flickr]