Environmental group: Inaction by Toledo mayor could cause another water crisis

Environmental group: Inaction by Toledo mayor could cause another water crisis

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Demonstrators from the group "Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie" greeted Toledo Mayor Paula hicks-Hudson as she pulled up to her political fundraiser Thursday night at the UAW Local 14 union hall.

They wanted to know why she refuses to take action (in their words) on behalf of Lake Erie.

"We had a water crisis two years ago. Our goal is to get the lake cleaned up and act like that crisis is ongoing and not just a bad memory," said Mike Ferner of the advocates group.

Mayor Hicks-Hudson has refused to tell the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to put the lake on its impaired watershed list. Doing so would limit the amount of fertilizer and manure flowing into the lake. That's what these environmentalists are demanding.

Those chemicals are responsible for the toxic algae bloom which paralyzed Toledo's water supply system in 2014 for two days.

"And we're here to say 'How much is the lake worth?'. Name your price because people need to know," said Ferner.

That's in response to Mayor Hick-Hudson saying she first wants to see if the EPA would require improvements to the city's sewer treatment plant and how much it would cost before discussing impairment.

She didn't meet with the demonstrators but said in an interview it's up to all the communities along the Maumee River watershed to protect Lake Erie.

"It's not just having a designation of impairment. It's really working with all the partners and coming up with the right solution that will fit us all," said Hicks- Hudson.

The group plans to follow Mayor Hicks-Hudson from one event to another. Next stop is Tuesday's city council meeting.

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