TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The fight to protect to Lake Erie was brought to a federal court Wednesday afternoon.
The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to push the agency to act on a ruling its required to make on Ohio EPA's unwillingness to call Lake Erie "impaired."
Under the Clean Water Act,the EPA was required to approve or reject the Ohio EPA's list of impaired waters by November 19, 2016. Ohio EPA announced only limited portions of western Lake Erie on their impaired list earlier this year.
"ELPC filed a lawsuit in a district court in Toledo because this is the city where 500,000 lost their drinking water for 72 hours in 2014," said Madeline Fleisher, ELPC staff attorney in Columbus, Ohio. "We also believe Ohio EPA is passing the buck by choosing to call only portions of Lake Erie impaired instead of the full open waters in the western basin. The first step to reducing toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie is to call attention to it with an impairment designation, then devise enforceable standards to make the water clean and safe."
Earlier this year, Governor John Kasich's administration released an action plan for Lake Erie that was criticized.
According to ELPC, the plan proposed very little to achieve Ohio's 40% phosphorus reduction commitment under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.