A recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report identifies four rivers in Ohio which are badly contaminated and continue to pollute Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. The Maumee, Ashtabula, Black, and Cuyahoga are the rivers named in the GAO report.
The named Ohio rivers are just four of 43 “contaminated areas of concern” in the Great Lakes Basin. Remedial action plans for these rivers are a federal responsibility, one currently not attended to by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because of bureaucratic confusion and staff cuts. In fact, none of the 26 areas of concern in the U.S. Great Lakes region have completed three-stage remedial action plans nor have any been restored to a designated level of “beneficial use.”
Senator Mike DeWine (R., Ohio) chairs the Great Lakes Task Force and intends to introduce a bill authorizing cleanup grants to states. Up to $50 million per year for the grants would be authorized for the EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office (compared to the current $3.2 million).