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Lake Erie could be harmed by proposed Ohio law

Lake Erie in downtown Buffalo
Ashley Hassett
/
WBFO News
Lake Erie in downtown Buffalo

By Mark Scott

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-977559.mp3

Buffalo, NY – A Western New York lawmaker is expressing his concerns about a proposed law in Ohio that he says could be harmful to Lake Erie.

State lawmakers in Ohio passed a measure that would allow any business in the state to take up to five-million gallons of water a day from Lake Erie, without any government approval. Congressman Brian Higgins of Buffalo says such a water use plan is a step back.

While Ohio is loosening water use standards, New York is doing the exact opposite. It was just last month that state legislators here passed a law that would require a permitting process for any farmer or business that uses 100,000 gallons or more of Great Lakes water a day.

Higgins says Ohio's plan to allow so much water use would hurt fish habitat and jeopardize the Niagara River hydropower plant.

Higgins wrote a letter to Ohio Governor John Kasich urging him to stop any plans to siphon Lake Erie water. The governor has until Monday to sign or veto the bill.