Senate District 24
Matt Dolan
Senators Dolan and Obhof Join EPA Administrator Wheeler for Announcement of Great Lakes-Related Accomplishments in Ohio
October 7, 2020
President Obhof (left) joins EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler (center) and Senator Dolan (right) in Cleveland for a press conference announcing the progress of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

COLUMBUS—Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) joined U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler as he announced a series of Great Lakes-related accomplishments in Ohio, including the removal of the final beneficial use impairment at the Ashtabula River Area of Concern (AOC), and the completion of all management actions at the Black River AOC.

“Some of these waterways, including the Ashtabula River, have faced significant environmental issues for decades,” said President Obhof. "Today’s announcements are a milestone in our efforts to clean up our waterways and to protect and preserve the Great Lakes. I thank Administrator Wheeler and the Trump Administration for making this a priority.”

Since the mid-2000s, EPA, along with state and federal partners, and industries have spent over $67.5 million to clean up contaminated sediment and restore habitat in the Ashtabula River AOC. The final beneficial use impairment (restrictions on dredging activities) was removed just last month.

With its removal, Ohio can now initiate the delisting of this AOC. It is anticipated that this AOC may be delisted by the end of FY2021, which would make it the sixth AOC delisted out the 31 original U.S. AOCs.

“I’m proud – both as EPA Administrator and as an Ohioan – to announce that the Ashtabula River is the first AOC in the state to begin the delisting process,” said EPA Administrator Wheeler. “We are within sight of the finish line in terms of returning Ohio’s rivers to health again – so they can again become a place where people can swim, play, catch fish, and generally enjoy what this great state has to offer.”

“I’m grateful that our federal government is recognizing the importance of Lake Erie to both the economy and our environment. Clean water is critical to our quality of life,” said Senator Dolan. “Now, the state and federal partnership plays a significant role in the preservation and cleanup of Lake Erie.”

The final management action in the Black River AOC was also completed last month. This final project will improve water quality and restore habitat for birds and other wildlife by grading and covering over 35 acres of slag piles along City of Lorain-owned property along the river. Now that all management actions are now complete, the remaining beneficial use impairments will be evaluated over the next several years to determine if criteria for removing them are met.

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