Support for curbing run-off from farm fields and using federal revenues to help restore the Great Lakes cuts across the political spectrum in Ohio, according to a poll released last week by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, National Wildlife Federation and Ohio Environmental Council.
Key points of the poll:
• More than 6 in 10 respondents say the federal Clean Water Act should cover wetlands and small streams to “protect our health and important habitats from dangerous pollution.” Fewer than 30 percent took the position the act shouldn’t cover wetlands and small streams because “it will hurt farmers and businesses who’ll be forced to comply with unnecessary regulations.”
When presented with arguments on both sides, support for the act covering streams and wetlands came from democrats (77 percent), independents (62 percent) and republicans (45 percent).
• About 66 percent of the respondents support the state enacting “stronger regulations to prevent run-off pollution from farms that ends up in the state’s rivers and streams.” Only 25 percent opposed new regulations; but a majority of republicans (51 percent), democrats (75 percent) and independents (72 percent) voiced support for stronger regulations.
The survey of 805 voters was conducted by Fallon Research & Communications, Inc., Columbus, in mid-June.
“Algal blooms in Lake Erie, caused in large part from farm field run-off, have prevented people from safely swimming, boating or fishing in the lake – even endangering our drinking water,” said Kristy Meyer, managing director of agricultural and clean water programs at Ohio Environmental Council. “It’s not a surprise that people in our state would want to prevent these blooms, but it is encouraging to see such high levels of support for new preventative regulations.”
Task force appointment
Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has been named a vice-chairman of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, a bi-partisan group formed in the mid-1980s to advocate policies that enhance the Great Lakes.
Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) are also co-chairmen of the task force.
The Great Lakes Task Force, which includes members of the House of Representatives, worked to pass several initiatives, including the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.
Sen. Portman sponsored the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013 that would re-authorize a law that established the framework for the governmental research and response to algal problems.
Sen. Portman was scheduled to be in Curtice June 28 at the Meinke Marina to host a discussion on Lake Erie.