COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lawmakers’ plan to combat algal blooms that tainted drinking water for thousands of Ohioans this summer is dead in the water after weeks of testimony and debate.
Senate President Keith Faber, a Celina Republican, said Tuesday night the Senate will not pass a wide-ranging environmental and agriculture bill containing provisions aimed at fighting algal blooms.
House Bill 490 emerged early in this lame-duck session as a “Christmas tree bill” on which lawmakers could hang various amendments that seemingly have nothing to do with one another.
Among them, the bill would allow telecom companies to discontinue landline service once they receive approval from the feds, could increase the amount of water that could be withdrawn from the Lake Erie basin under the Great Lakes Compact and make the Ohio Department of Natural Resources the middle man for reporting fracking materials to emergency responders.
“We simply need more time to consider the substantive issues contained in the 264-page document, and time is not our ally in a lame duck session,” Faber said in a statement. “Our colleagues in the House had the benefit of eight months to consider the bill between its introduction and passage; we’ve had it in the Senate for less than three weeks.”
The Senate plans to wrap up its work for this two-year legislative session on Thursday. The House is scheduled to meet through next week.
House Bill 490 would ban spreading fertilizer on frozen ground, require the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to approve dumping of all dredging materials in Lake Erie and require large water treatment plants to test for phosphorus. Language weakening the state’s recently enacted puppy mill law were already removed earlier this week.
“I came to this decision reluctantly, as I know many people have worked long hours to move House Bill 490 through the legislative process,” Faber said. “We are absolutely committed to renewing the debate on these important issues at the outset of the new General Assembly in January.”
Photo: An environmental and agricultural bill addressing Lake Erie algal blooms will not pass the Senate, the chamber’s top leader said Tuesday. (D’Arcy Egan / The Plain Dealer)
View original article at: Algal bloom, landline deregulation legislation will not pass, Senate president says