"A big part of Toledo's problem comes from the Maumee River, which drains a broad swath of agricultural land, feeding the bloom on Toledo's end of the lake," Peters and Dolan write. "Other major cities near the Great Lakes such as Chicago and Detroit haven't experienced similar restrictions, but some are voicing new concerns about the potential threats to their drinking-water supplies."
Adam Sharp, vice president of public policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, told the Journal, "This is a big deal. We recognize it, and we're going to resolve it." But environmentalists say the rule doesn't go far enough. Howard Learner, president of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, a Midwest advocacy group, told the Journal, "This isn't a matter of farmers fine-tuning what they're doing. This requires a substantial rethinking of how nitrogen and phosphorus is used in the agriculture sector."
Across the U.S. "progress has been made when it comes to better fertilizer management, according to the Environmental Defense Fund," Peters and Dolan write. "Farmers and retailers have increased demand for nutrient-efficient products and helped to reduce fertilizer loss by an average of 25 percent on half a million acres in six states, including Ohio, while also keeping up or increasing crop yields, the group said."
"Still, the response by farmers and regulators, not just in Ohio, but in farm states across the Midwest, has drawn criticism from other environmental groups that don't see progress," the Journal writes. "They are fighting in court to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set limits on nutrient levels for lakes, streams and rivers." (Read more)