TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The U.S. Senate said "yes" on Thursday to several bills that could help clean up Lake Erie. While there haven't been any serious threats of harmful algae blooms this summer, work continues to keep it that way.
Sen. Sherrod Brown praised his Senate colleagues for passing parts of Brown's Water Resources Development Act.
To protect Lake Erie, the source of Toledo's drinking water, the act includes a bill that would appoint a Harmful Algal Bloom coordinator. That person would work with local, state, and federal agencies to make sure the toxic blooms are being addressed.
The Senate also passed a provision to approve the spending of $300 million a year, through 2021, for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The GLRI is a vital funding source to identify what's hurting the Lake and how to restore it to health.
"We used to invest in our country, large numbers of dollars in local water and sewer system and unfortunately people in Washington and Columbus would rather do, legislators would rather do tax cuts for the upper income people than they would invest in local communities. So this is a big deal," said Sen. Brown.
Also passed by the Senate was a bill to make it more affordable for communities like Toledo to renovate outdated sewer systems and improve water quality. And also to address the rising cost of water and sewer rates for homeowners and businesses.