Latta Introduces Legislation to Mitigate Harmful Algal Blooms in Great Lakes
Washington, September 17, 2014 | Sarah Criser (202-225-6405)
Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) today introduced the Protecting Our Great Lakes Act, legislation to help mitigate harmful algal blooms by prohibiting the discharge of dredged material in the open waters of the Great Lakes.
“The Protecting Our Great Lakes Act is one step we can take to mitigate the spread and growth of harmful algal blooms in our Great Lakes,” said Latta. “The lakes’ health is vital to our region, as tens of millions of people rely on them for drinking water. I remain committed to working with my colleagues to get this legislation passed, so we may protect these national treasures for current and future generations.”
During the dredging process, material is discharged back into the open-lake, re-suspending buried phosphorus, the main contributor to harmful algal bloom growth in Lake Erie. The Protecting Our Great Lakes Act prohibits the discharge of dredged material into the open-waters of the Great Lakes. It also requires the reuse of dredged material in confined land-based areas or in water disposal areas that are deemed economically and environmentally viable.
This legislation is a continuation of Congressman Latta’s efforts to address the algal blooms issues in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie. Yesterday, Latta met with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discuss long-term substantive solutions that can be implemented to ensure our drinking water is safe. Last week, he introduced H.R. 5456, the Great Lakes & Fresh Water Algal Blooms Information Act, bipartisan legislation to examine the causes and current mitigation efforts of algal blooms in the Great Lakes, their tributaries and surface fresh waters. In January, he also introduced H.R. 3862, the Clean Water Affordability Act, to assist municipalities in more affordably managing their wastewater infrastructure projects. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee also held a hearing to discuss this legislation in July.