Mayor writes federal, state leaders for help with algal blooms - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Toledo mayor writes federal, state leaders for help with algal blooms

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins  has written to President Barack Obama, along with many other federal and state lawmakers, asking for help dealing with the toxic algal bloom which prevented nearly half a million people from drinking their water for a weekend.

In the letter Collins outlines the scope of the problem, saying the Great Lakes constitute 84 percent of the continent's surface fresh water supply.

Collins asks President Obama and lawmakers to "take swift action to preserve our health and quality of life." He called for money from the government to pay for more research on algal blooms and to help speed up the upgrades the City of Toledo is planning for the water treatment plant.

Collins says Toledo is not the main cause of the problem.

"Toledo is not the primary contributor in the creation of HABs [harmful algal blooms] and is purely a victim of geographical location," Collins told President Obama and other lawmakers.

Collins also says the city cannot solve the problem alone.

"Our federal government cannot continue to pass along the costs of dealing with HABs to cities that have no ability to control the behavior of those outside our authority who are contributing to poor water quality," said Collins.

There are, however, mixed opinions on whether the letter will do any good. 

"If we could take and put a man on the moon back in the '60s with the resources that we had then, then we certainly have the capacity in this United States to have a full-fledged effort to clean up that lake," the mayor said. 

But Councilman Steve Steel doesn't have high hopes for the letter. He says Mayor Collins should have included city council and county commissioners in his request of the president, and he should have asked for a specific amount of money.

"If you are going to write a letter to the President of the United States, you don't then come back later and say, 'Well, this is what I really wanted to say,'" Steel said. "I mean you've got [one] shot and I think you have to make your best shot and your best pitch."

Read the full letter here.

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