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Reps. Lightbody and Sheehy urge action to protect Ohio's water

March 8, 2022
Michael Sheehy News

COLUMBUS – State Reps. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville), the 2022 State Lead for Ohio for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL), and Michael Sheehy (D-Toledo) hosted a press conference today to urge action on legislation to protect Ohio’s water. They were joined at the press conference by Melanie Houston, Interim Water Director at the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund.

“Our waterways are Ohio’s most precious resource. We must establish standards and eliminate dangerous pollutants to protect our drinking water for the health and well-being of current and future Ohioans,” said Rep. Lightbody.

House Bill (HB) 579, sponsored by Rep. Lightbody, will prohibit the surface application of brine from oil and gas wells on Ohio’s roads. Ohio is one of only ten states that permits the use of radioactive wastewater from oil and gas wells as a de-icing or dust inhibiting application by spraying it on roads and earth surfaces. 

HB 365, The Safe Drinking Water Act was recently joint sponsored by Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and Rep. Lightbody. This bill will require Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to set state-level standards for drinking water in order to limit known toxics and protect residents from harm. 

“One of the most pressing issues Ohio faces is the recurrence of harmful algae blooms in the western basin of Lake Erie. We have seen firsthand the disruptions they can cause, most notably in 2014 when 400,000 Ohioans were impacted by a boil advisory due to the algal blooms. The Ohio Legislature must work toward solutions that will strengthen and protect Lake Erie for the industries, businesses, and individuals who rely on a healthy lake,” said Rep. Sheehy.

HB 349, sponsored by Rep. Sheehy, would prohibit the construction of any new confined animal feeding farms in the Maumee River watershed until a 40 percent reduction in phosphorus pollution has been reached, as outlined in the 2015 Western Basin of Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement.

“With unprecedented federal investment in water infrastructure coming down to the state and local governments, leaders must step into action and use these dollars to get the lead lines out and to address industrial PFAS pollution,” said Melanie Houston. “Every Ohioan deserves clean, safe and affordable drinking water. We can and must make this vision a reality.”

Watch Press Conference Here