COLUMBUS — Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) last week joined Governor Mike DeWine in Toledo as the governor unveiled H2Ohio, a comprehensive, data-driven water quality plan to preserve Ohio’s vital waterways and ensure safe, clean water for all of Ohio’s citizens.
The program focuses on reducing phosphorus and preventing algal blooms, creating wetlands, addressing failing septic systems and preventing lead contamination. The Ohio General Assembly fully-funded the program for the current biennium in the state budget earlier this year.
“It is critically important that we protect Lake Erie and Ohio’s other lakes and waterways,” said Obhof. “We must be mindful stewards of the environment not just for ourselves, but for our kids and grandkids and future generations. That’s why I am so glad that Governor DeWine, the Senate and the House are focused on working together to protect and preserve our greatest natural resources.”
The Senate has worked closely over the last decade with environmental, agricultural and scientific communities to protect Lake Erie and Ohio’s other vital waterways from harmful algae and toxins. In addition to passing funding in the state budget for the H2Ohio program, the Senate also this year unanimously passed Senate Bill 2 which would establish a statewide watershed planning and management program to coordinate state and local efforts to improve water quality and meet the unique needs of various regions around the state.
Various leaders in the agricultural, environmental and business communities attended the announcement at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo. Also joining were Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz, Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Laurie Stevenson and Lake Erie Commission Director Joy Mulinex.
“H2Ohio takes on Ohio’s water quality issues with an aggressive plan of proven solutions. We appreciate Governor DeWine stepping up to provide funding to make the implementation of additional best management practices more economically feasible for farmers as they help achieve the overall goal of clean water across the state,” said Ohio Farm Bureau President Frank Burkett III.
“H2Ohio is a major advancement in the fight to provide all Ohioans with clean, safe, and affordable water,” added Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director of the Ohio Environmental Council. “We look forward to continuing this important work alongside environmental, agricultural, academic and regulatory leaders to develop science-based, forward-thinking solutions that are good for people, good for our environment and good for our economy.”