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National Wildlife Federation Ad Blitz Urges Gov. Kasich to Protect Drinking Water

Three-week Toledo campaign urges Ohio governor to act to curb harmful algal blooms which last summer left nearly 500,000 Toledo residents without safe drinking water.

The National Wildlife Federation today is launching a three-week radio advertising blitz in Toledo, urging Ohio Gov. John Kasich to take action to protect Lake Erie and Ohio’s drinking water by curbing farm runoff. Farm runoff is fueling a resurgence in harmful algal blooms in Western Lake Erie that last year cut off safe drinking water to nearly a half-million Toledo-area residents for almost three days. 

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The ad campaign, which will run Feb. 11 through Feb. 27, comes as the city marks the six-month anniversary of the drinking water crisis; as the state legislature prepares to hold a hearing in Sylvania, Ohio, on Feb. 12, examining the runoff issue; and as Gov. Kasich prepares to lay out his vision for Ohio in his State of the State address on Feb. 24.

The National Wildlife Federation is calling on Gov. Kasich to act to curb farm runoff—the leading cause of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and other inland waters. Rain and snowmelt wash excess fertilizers and manure high in phosphorus off farm fields and into rivers, streams and ultimately inland lakes and Lake Erie, where they feed explosive algal growth that can poison drinking water, kill fish, harm wildlife, and hurt our recreation and tourism industries.

The National Wildlife Federation is echoing calls from leading scientists in the United States and Canada, who are recommending phosphorus reductions of at least 40 percent into Western Lake Erie to curb harmful algal blooms. That level of reduction is going to take state support for efforts such as planting buffer strips, crop diversification, wetlands restoration, and smart application of fertilizer.

Toledo resident Frank Szollosi, who manages regional outreach campaigns for the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center, will be testifying at the Feb. 12 hearing. Commenting on the Toledo advertising campaign, Szollosi said:

"Six months after the drinking water crisis that left almost half-million citizens without safe drinking water, Ohio citizens deserve to know that this problem is going to be dealt with once and for all. Gov. Kasich has the opportunity to stand up for the 11 million people who depend on Lake Erie for their drinking water, jobs and way of life by putting in place commonsense solutions to curb farm runoff and prevent harmful algal blooms. The governor has taken some positive, modest first steps—but these steps alone will not get us to the 40 percent nutrient reduction that Lake Erie needs. Delay will only make the problem worse and more costly. We have solutions. It’s time to use them. We look forward to working with the governor to protect Lake Erie and our drinking water from future disasters."

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