Fedor Calls for New CAFO Requirements to Address Farmland Runoff
May 5, 2021
Today, state Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) called for increased accountability for corporate agriculture and stronger requirements for permissible soil phosphorous application rates for large concentrated feeding operations (CAFOs) during a press conference on Ohio’s impending permit approval for additional CAFOs in the Lake Erie watershed.
“We all remember the three days in August 2014 when Toledo’s water supply was shut down due to the poisonous toxins from algal blooms in Lake Erie,” Fedor said. “Nearly seven years later, it’s very frustrating to see that little progress has been made to reduce the amount of phosphorous entering the western Lake Erie basin despite the voluntary efforts of our local farmers.”
The press conference was held in response to Ohio’s recent expansion of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the Western Lake Erie Basin, which will lead to an increase in untreated manure applied to the land. Runoff contaminated by untreated manure contains high levels of phosphorous, a chemical that enters Lake Erie by way of streams and other waterways. These toxins contribute to increases in algal blooms, tainting the water in the Lake Erie watershed region that many communities rely on for household use.
During the press conference, Senator Fedor called on Governor Mike DeWine to require H2Ohio to change CAFO requirements for new and renewal permits to require a soil phosphorous rate of 50 parts per million, rather than the 150 ppm currently allowed.
“Governor DeWine needs to do more to protect Lake Erie if he wants to tout Ohio tourism,” Fedor said. “The measures his administration is implementing now are counterproductive and causing our progress in reducing phosphorus to backside with severe impacts on public health, property values and the longevity of our natural resources. Additionally, people in our area have seen a 45% increase on their water rates over the last five years. This is unacceptable. We must require corporate agriculture to pull its weight in the effort to protect our great Lake Erie because right now, ratepayers are footing the bill. It is our responsibility as elected officials to be good stewards for our water ways.”