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Ohio Senate passes Clean Lake 2020 bill

Ohio Senate passes Clean Lake 2020 bill

The bill commits up to $20 million to help farmers reduce phosphorous runoff

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Lawmakers voted to pass a bill that would provide Ohio’s ag industry with financial support to reduce phosphorus runoff into Lake Erie.

Ohio senators unanimously approved Senate Bill 299, also known as Clean Lake 2020 on June 6. The bill outlines funding measures to help reduce nutrient runoff by 40 percent by 2025.

Clean Lake 2020 allocates up to $36 million in government investments, including a total of up to $20 million to support state departments that create programs to help limit phosphorus runoff.

Local farmers are pleased with the bill’s progress.

The government’s decision to support the legislation provides both environmental and financial benefits, one producer said.

“Farmers are the world’s first environmentalists. We depend on having clean water and it’s our role to make sure the land we have is available for the next generation,” Karl Wedemeyer, a dairy producer from Marion County, Ohio, told today.

“From an economic standpoint, if we can keep the nutrients in the ground where we need them, it reduces our input costs.

Ohio grain organizations also applauded the Senate’s decision.

“The health of Lake Erie has been a priority for Ohio grain farmers for many years, and they have invested their own dollars in research and education programs in an effort to be part of the solution,” said Allen Armstrong, president of the Ohio Soybean Association, the Norwalk Reflector reports. “Clean Lake 2020 will help farmers implement even more best management practices and achieve our goals faster.”

The Ohio House of Representatives will now consider Clean Lake 2020.

Gov. John Kasich could receive the bill for his signature by the end of June, Senators Steve Arndt and Randy Gardner, who authored the bill, told the Sandusky Register on Thursday.