Ohio EPA Awards Farming Grant to Wood County SWCD

Seven grants were awarded statewide for $261,183. The Ohio Environmental Education Fund provides funding each year for environmental education projects serving kindergarten through university students, the general public and the regulated community.

Ohio EPA Education Grant to Wood County SWCD Will Support Best Farming Practices

Preserving topsoil and learning how crop rotation improves soil health is the focus of Wood Soil and Water Conservation District’s (Wood SWCD) Demonstrating Innovative Conservation Practices.

The SWCD and Ohio State University Extension will host a series of workshops using the sample plots to demonstrate various tillage practices, cover crops and conservation practices that can reduce phosphorus runoff to Lake Erie and its tributaries. A drive-it-yourself conservation tour will be in place for several months, allowing residents and producers to observe these innovations during an entire growing season.

The project is being funded in part with a $14,903 Ohio EPA grant awarded to Wood SWCD. Seven grants were awarded statewide for $261,183. The Ohio Environmental Education Fund provides funding each year for environmental education projects serving kindergarten through university students, the general public and the regulated community.

Eligible grant recipients include environmental groups, public and private schools, colleges and universities, trade or professional organizations, businesses and state and local governments. Letters of intent for the next grant round are due to Ohio EPA no later than Jan. 8, 2016, and applications are due no later than Jan. 15, 2016. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Ohio Environmental Education Fund on the web or at (614) 644-2873 to discuss project ideas.

EPA Takes Next Steps to Protect Drinking Water from Harmful Algal Blooms

Solving the challenge of algal toxins in drinking water will require action at all levels of government and approaches that are collaborative, innovative, and persistent……

In addition to Congressman Latta’s remarks, the Environmental Protection Agency highlighted the release of its initial algal toxin assessment plan (as required by legislation authored by the Congressman) on EPA Connect:

“Today we’re releasing a comprehensive strategic plan outlining ongoing actions to address algal toxins in drinking water. Solving the challenge of algal toxins in drinking water will require action at all levels of government and approaches that are collaborative, innovative, and persistent. EPA will work closely with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and the public to provide scientific and technical leadership on a number of fronts, including health effects studies.” – Joel Beauvais, U.S. EPA 

In the next year alone, EPA intends to:

  • Develop and propose recreational water quality criteria for two types of algal toxins (microcystins and cylindrospermopsin), which will help protect people who paddle, swim, and spend time by the water.
  • Collaborate on workshops to address HABs’ impacts on drinking water and activities to protect drinking water sources.
  • Evaluate whether to include certain cyanotoxins in the fourth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, which will require the collection of drinking water to better understand whether these toxins are present in drinking water systems.
  • Assist utilities in managing the risks from cyanotoxins to drinking water.
  • Publish monitoring data for cyanobacteria and microcystins in the National Aquatic Resource Survey National Lakes Assessment.
  • Accelerate development and use of technologies that can recover nitrogen and phosphorus from animal manure and generate value-added products by partnering with the dairy and swine industries on the Nutrient Recycling Challenge.
  • Improve EPA’s Drinking Water Mapping Application for Protecting Source Waters.
  • Co-lead an interagency working group to develop a Comprehensive Research Plan and Action Strategy to address marine and freshwater HABs and hypoxia.
  • Provide funding for critical projects that reduce nutrient pollution that fuels HABs in the Great Lakes.

Grants Available to Focus on Reducing Nutrients In Lake Erie

Improving water quality in Ohio’s lakes and streams – especially those susceptible to blue-green algae – is a focus of this year’s federal grants for water quality improvement. Innovative and/or highly effective projects within the Lake Erie Watershed will receive strong consideration for part of the approximately $2 million funding available through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

Grants to Focus on Reducing Nutrients In Lake Erie 

Improving water quality in Ohio’s lakes and streams – especially those susceptible to blue-green algae – is a focus of this year’s federal grants for water quality improvement. Innovative and/or highly effective projects within the Lake Erie Watershed will receive strong consideration for part of the approximately $2 million funding available through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

Awards will be made to local governments, park districts and other organizations to implement projects that restore Ohio streams, reduce nutrients or decrease sediment (soil that runs off the land). These types of indirect discharges are known as nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. Projects that correct damage caused by stream modification or affect riparian habitat also will be considered.

The deadline for application is August 14, 2015 for funding during state fiscal year 2016.

Types of projects include but are not limited to:

  • stream restoration and/or dam removal projects;
  • wetland restoration and/or re-naturalization;
  • sediment and nutrient reduction;
  • regional watershed implementation support;
  • inland lake management; and
  • riparian habitat restoration.

Applications also must include project-specific educational and public outreach activities describing how the successes of the project will be communicated throughout the affected community.

In the United States, NPS pollution is the leading cause of water quality impairment. NPS pollution is caused by rain or snowmelt moving over and through the ground, picking up natural and human-made pollutants which are then deposited in lakes, rivers, wetlands and other waterways. Polluted runoff can have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife. In 1987, Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act amendments created a national grant program to control NPS pollution. Ohio EPA administers this grant program with funding from U.S. EPA, distributing more than $2 million each year to projects proposed by local governments and community organizations.

More information about grant opportunities is available online.

Completed applications may be mailed or delivered to Russ Gibson, NPS Program Manager, or Martha Spurbeck, Ohio EPA/Division of Surface Water, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio, 43216-1049. All grant applications will be reviewed for completeness, technical merit and adherence to the 1987 Amendment to the Clean Water Act., U.S. EPA Section 319(h) Program Guidance and 2016 request for proposals criteria.

U.S. Rep. Latta on EPA’s Proposed Ozone Rule and Impacts on Manufacturing

“Today, we heard from several witnesses who have expressed grave concerns for their industry and the negative impacts this proposal would bring. I have particular apprehension for how the rule would adversely effect the constituents in my district, and across the state of Ohio, which has historically been a manufacturing state,” said Rep. Latta.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Robert E. Latta joined colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power at a hearing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new proposal for National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone Rule. Testimony was heard from seven witnesses discussing the potential impacts of the rule’s implementation on the manufacturing sector.

“Today, we heard from several witnesses who have expressed grave concerns for their industry and the negative impacts this proposal would bring. I have particular apprehension for how the rule would adversely effect the constituents in my district, and across the state of Ohio, which has historically been a manufacturing state,” said Rep. Latta.  “Since the proposal was first introduced, I have neither seen nor heard anything that would alleviate the concern that this is unnecessary regulation that would pose a heavy burden on American industry.”

The U.S. EPA initially established an ozone standard in 1971, and subsequently revised the standard in 1979, 1997, and 2008. Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for criteria pollutants, including ground-level ozone. The current standard, set in 2008, established an 8-hour standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb), replacing a 1997 standard equivalent to 84 ppb.

EPA has proposed to lower that standard to a range within 65 ppb to 70 ppb.

Ross E. Eisenberg, Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), was among witnesses offering testimony at the hearing.  Mr. Eisenberg, referring to the data determined by a previously released study, identified the proposal as “likely to be the most expensive regulation ever”.

The study estimated the proposal will cost as much as $140 billion per year, placing the equivalent of 1.4 million jobs in jeopardy annually. The study also estimates Ohio would experience a $22 Billion Gross State Product loss from 2017 to 2040, spend $840 Million in Total Compliance Costs and lose 22,914 jobs or job equivalents annually.

“It very much appears the administration is using the Clean Air Act to target specific industries, and certainly, if this rule is implemented, manufacturing is going to be one of those most negatively impacted. This is an industry that employs, directly or indirectly, millions of Americans who stand to face unnecessary adversity and declining opportunity as a result of regulatory overreach,” stated Latta.

Testimony was heard from Erin Monroe Wesley, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Ms. Wesley identified four businesses who were preparing to make significant ventures estimated to bring more than $7 billion in capital investments to the region. These companies, upon the release of the EPA proposal, either put the projects on hold or invested elsewhere, citing the proposal and lack of emission reduction credits as the basis for their decision.

“The previous revisions to the NAAQS standards are currently being implemented in counties across the country, and by the EPA’s own data, this has allowed ozone levels to decline over 30% by 1980.  These newly proposed standards are overly burdensome and deficiently demonstrative of providing any environmental benefit,” said Latta.  “We have already heard testimony demonstrating the simple possibility of these rules being implemented proving detrimental to a region’s workforce, and workforce growth. This will not be isolated to one area. If the EPA were to go forward with the rules under the current proposal, negative consequences would be felt by American workers across the board, and effectively stifle any opportunity for future economic growth.”