Visit the Archive

Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Toledo Legal News - News Farm Bureau critical of Kasich executive order

 

The Ohio Farm Bureau wasted no time in criticizing Gov. John Kasich's executive order aimed at aggressively protecting the waters of Lake Erie at what they perceive as farmers' expense.

Kasich's proposal takes aim at the nutrient runoff from agricultural production in the lake's watersheds, particularly the western basin. The fertilizer that winds up in area waterways is thought to be the leading cause of the toxic algae blooms that have frustrated the region for several years.

In a statement, the Farm Bureau accused the governor of abandoning one of his most basic principles by devising unilateral regulations of the farming practices on more than 2 million acres of land in northwest Ohio in an attempt to improve Lake Erie water quality.

So much for the transparency and inclusive nature of the governor's Common Sense Initiative, bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp chided.

"We can't even react to the specific regulations he's proposing; we haven't seen them," he said.

The bureau plans to file a formal public records request to get a better idea of what it is the governor expects from the order.

Sharp faulted the plan for having no realistic recognition of the time or the financial or educational resources required for compliance.

He suggested it is likely the executive order's regulations will clash with multiple layers of existing regulation.

Kasich has ordered Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dave Daniels to deem eight watersheds in Lake Erie's western basin as distressed watersheds and work with the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to develop rules for the use, storage, handling and control of nutrients, and the development of management plans for all agricultural land and operations within each designated watershed.

The "distressed" designation may only be removed after Daniels or a successor has confirmed sustained recovery, restoration and mitigation of factors leading to the original designation.

The eight watersheds are Platter, Little Flat Rock and Eagle creeks, and the Little Auglaize, Auglaize, Blanchard, St. Marys and Ottawa rivers

Sharp said it was curious that the executive order addresses agriculture solely and not "other pieces of the water puzzle," considering that the administration has prioritized other water quality initiatives ahead of farm conservation programs.

He said the Kasich administration is on record having invested about $3 billion to improve Lake Erie water quality, while only 1 percent of the amount was used to address agriculture's portion of the water quality challenge.

"If we weren't a priority for state resources, why are we a priority for state regulation?" Sharp posed.

Kasich was incredulous at the bureau's assertions.

"... There have been more discussions, more deliberations, and the answer's not 'don't do anything,'" he said. "Are you trying to kid me?"

Kasich said his ag director, himself a farmer, has taken more heat than anybody from the agricultural community.

"So don't say that the agricultural community was thwarted here," the governor continued. "The agricultural community, if they say 'we're going to do nothing,' that's not acceptable."

The governor views the executive order as a means to the same end sought by the legislature, which, as Kasich suggested, is wavering on certain elements of existing law.

"Some in the legislature say that we already have the authority (invested in the executive order)," he said. "So, it's pretty interesting - they say we have the authority, but they don't want to make it specific.

"If you take a look at the law, the law has to do with anything that holds soil."

Sharp said bureau members support the newly enacted Clean Lake 2020 legislation, which provides funding of up to $20 million in a targeted phosphorus reduction fund and $3.5 million to support soil testing and development of nutrient management plans because it recognizes the complex needs of farmers in relation to protecting Lake Erie water quality.

Working together is always the preferred approach to address agricultural concerns, he said.

Kasich said his order will build upon a number of earlier efforts by state agencies and their partners to improve water quality throughout Ohio.

KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

Q & A with UT’s head coach Jenny Coluccio

First-year head coach Jenny Coluccio was hired in June and is beginning to get settled in her new role. She sat down recently to discuss her transition heading into the 2018-19 campaign.

Date Published: August 15, 2018

Report: Innovation key to Ohio's economic growth

Manufacturing, health care, smart infrastructure and data analytics are four platforms in which Ohio should further invest to address the needs of its innovation ecosystem and accelerate the economy, according to a recently released plan from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation Inc.

Date Published: August 14, 2018

Rockets name Joe Abraham head softball coach

Joe Abraham has been named the head softball coach at the University of Toledo, UT vice president and athletic director Mike O'Brien recently announced. Abraham is the 11th coach in program history and comes to Toledo after serving seven years as the head softball coach at Hillsdale College.

Date Published: August 14, 2018

Courts tech-ing it to next level

Courts in Ohio are exploring how to leverage technological advances to better serve the public

Date Published: August 13, 2018

Registration for 2018-19 Downtown Coaches Association membership now open

The Downtown Coaches Association (DCA) of the University of Toledo is looking to add members to the organization for the 2018-19 academic year. For a small annual fee ($40 per person, $50 per couple), supporters can join a network of over 200 Toledo supporters while also gaining behind-the-scenes access to UT coaches and student-athletes at the DCA's weekly luncheons.

Date Published: August 13, 2018

Secretary of State announces verified signature totals for proposed constitutional amendments

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted recently certified the number of valid signatures collected by advocates for two separate citizen-initiated constitutional amendments. A proposed amendment concerning drug treatment and rehabilitation has met the necessary requirements and will be on the November General Election Ballot as State Issue 1. The proposed amendment regarding kidney dialysis failed to meet all of the necessary requirements to be placed on the ballot and petitioners have 10 days to address petition deficiencies.

Date Published: August 13, 2018

529 savings strategies with a sales tax holiday and more

With hot days and a new school year fast approaching, now is the perfect time to review your 529 college savings account and your saving strategies. Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, can help you check your progress with online calculators and tools. Use them to verify that you’re on track to reach your college savings goals and to see what would happen if you changed your savings strategy by increasing your 529 contributions. Need ideas on how to boost those contributions? Here are some steps you can take this summer to further fund your 529 account.

Date Published: August 10, 2018

Consumer alert: Individuals posing as Premier Health Plan representatives to steal premium funds

Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment is warning Ohioans of an insurance fraud scam involving individuals posing as representatives of Dayton-based Premier Health Plan. Premier Health Plan, as of April 1, 2018, no longer offers health insurance products, but consumers from across the country are receiving numerous automated calls selling Premier Health Plan insurance. Some consumers have received “premium” invoices in lieu of a call, or have noticed unauthorized charges on their bank accounts.

Date Published: August 10, 2018

How to get involved

Back in 1883, Teddy Roosevelt wrote an essay on what it takes to be a true American citizen. He did not mince words. “The people who say that they have not time to attend to politics are simply saying that they are unfit to live in a free community,” he wrote. “Their place is under a despotism.” He went on: “The first duty of an American citizen, then, is that he shall work in politics.”

Date Published: August 10, 2018

Ohio’s shale region sees spike in natural gas production

Natural gas production in Ohio’s shale region was up 42 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of last year, but crude oil production was down 4 percent in the same timeframe.