Toledo Blade: It’s become evident — except to those deniers who are determined not to see it — that global climate change is aggravating the plague of toxic algae in western Lake Erie. If environmental concerns are not enough finally to force action on a broad front to clean up the lake, then the threat to a resource that contributes nearly $11 billion a year to northern Ohio’s tourism economy surely must be.
Elected officials propose several useful measures to curb toxic algae blooms, in Lake Erie and elsewhere. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman seeks to reauthorize a federal law that provides a vital research and response framework aimed at controlling harmful algae nationwide. Congress also needs to fund adequately, not starve, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
State Sen. Randy Gardner has introduced legislation that would greatly reduce open-lake disposal. Toledo Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins has pledged to pay more attention than his predecessor to operations at a facility along Maumee Bay that gets sewage sludge from the city’s wastewater treatment plant in Point Place and disposes of especially contaminated material dredged from the ship channel.
All of these measures are useful, and urgent, to deal with Lake Erie’s algae mess. But they will have only limited effect without a meaningful effort to address, rather than deny, the disastrous effects of global climate change — now.