WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced legislation to help protect drinking water from harmful algae blooms known as cyanotoxins. Latta authored the legislation in response to Toledo, Ohio’s August water emergency caused by the increased presence of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. H.R. 5753, the Drinking Water Protection Act, requires the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and submit a strategic plan to Congress for assessing and managing the risk associated with cyanotoxins in drinking water.
“My legislation will ensure a robust approach when addressing the health of our drinking water,” said Latta. “In addition, by requiring the EPA to develop a strategic plan that outlines how it will assess and manage the risks associated with cyanotoxins in our water, the bill will foster close, ongoing coordination between all agencies involved and set timelines to ensure the health of our drinking water is addressed in a timely manner. I would like to thank Chairman Upton and Chairman Shimkus for bringing Congressional attention to this issue and look forward to working with them on this important issue.”
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) gave his support to the legislation, stating, “This is an important issue facing millions of Americans that live in the communities surrounding our Great Lakes. The water supply scare in Ohio this summer brought this issue to the forefront, and I thank Representative Latta for his leadership in responding to this critical threat and working toward a solution that helps keep our drinking water and our families safe.”
The Environment and the Economy Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), held a hearing Wednesday to examine cyanotoxins in drinking water and solutions to address the problem. During the hearing, Rep. Latta stressed the need for federal, state, and local officials to work together to better understand this threat to human health and the environment and find ways to increase protections. Watch Latta’s questioning with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Craig Butler regarding the need for EPA to provide research and guidance to states:
Watch Latta’s questioning with Ohio EPA Director Butler HERE.
Latta’s bill directs the EPA to formulate a plan, including the necessary steps and timelines to fully evaluate the risk of cyanotoxins, publish a comprehensive list of potentially harmful cyanotoxins, and provide additional guidance and technical assistance to states to help mitigate risks to drinking water systems. To view a copy of the bill, click HERE.