Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ohio House passes Lake Erie water withdrawal bill

Press Release:

Ohio House Passes House Bill 473 to Permit Responsible Lake Erie Water Withdrawal
Legislation would encourage business growth, job creation

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed legislation to establish a permitting process to protect Lake Erie and its tributaries from potentially harmful withdrawals and to establish other requirements related to the implementation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.

House Bill 473, sponsored by State Representative Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon), provides strong protections for the Lake Erie watershed while, at the same time, ensuring that businesses and agriculture can still grow and create jobs.

“It is extremely important to me and to my colleagues in the Legislature that, in the effort to improve our business climate, we safeguard Ohio’s most precious resource—Lake Erie,” said Representative Wachtmann. “House Bill 473 provides the strong and necessary protections that we all want for the Lake Erie watershed, while also developing the jobs associated with steel plants, farms and many factories in Ohio’s industrial corridor.”

House Bill 473 includes significant compromises from the original House Bill 231 and has received the support of Governor John Kasich—who collaborated on the crafting of this legislation—as well as numerous interested parties and business groups across Ohio.

It greatly reduces the threshold levels compared to House Bill 231 and creates a stakeholder group tasked with studying the issue of significant adverse impacts and bringing recommendations back to the Legislature as to how to resolve the issue. Until that time, House Bill 473 offers guidance to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on how to assess potential impacts.

“This is an opportunity for us to balance being good stewards of our water resources and fostering a more competitive economic climate,” Representative Wachtmann said. “Promoting job creation in Ohio’s hard-hit industrial corridor is just one of the ways we can help revitalize struggling communities without damaging other areas of our way of life.”

House Bill 473 will now be sent to the Ohio Senate for further discussion.


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