Columbus –Today, State Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) provided sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 224 in the Senate Agriculture Committee. SB 224 improves upon the General Assembly’s previous work to reduce nutrient runoff from agricultural lands and animal feeding lots, which contributes to toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie. 

“This issue is personal for me,” said Senator Brown. “In 2014, Toledo and surrounding areas experienced a drinking water crisis. In that frightening episode, over 400,000 Ohio citizens in and around my district went without drinking water, because it had been poisoned by excess nutrient runoff.”

Excess nutrient runoff is an Ohio-wide issue, affecting our rivers and streams as well as Lake Erie. One specific area of concern is manure application, which this legislation addresses in three ways:

  • Senate Bill 224 directs owners or operators of Animal Feeding Facilities to file annual reports with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The reports include the total amount of manure applied to fields, quantities sold and transferred, and the location of applications.
  • It requires livestock producers without a state permit and farmers with more than 50 acres to develop plans to prevent excess nutrient runoff by following scientific agronomic rates.
  • It cleans up language that currently allows for inadvertent loopholes and eliminates burdensome enforcement steps. SB 224 ensures smoother government while creating cleaner drinking water for Ohio’s citizens.

“This is a chronic issue that affects not only the safety of our drinking water, but also the tourist industry surrounding Lake Erie,” said Senator Brown. “The General Assembly still has work to do to prevent future water crises.”

 
 
 
  
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