Toronto, ON –Environmental Defence applauds the Governors of Ohio and Michigan and the Premier of Ontario for working together to protect the health of Lake Erie. The commitment to a 40 per cent reduction of phosphorus pollution by 2025, as agreed to today, is a huge step toward ridding the lake of harmful algal blooms.
Years of inaction have made algal blooms one of Lake Erie’s most urgent problems. Algal blooms are forcing beach closures, increasing water treatment costs, and killing fish. Last year, toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie left nearly 500,000 residents in Toledo, OH without water for days.
In the 1970s, when algal blooms were suffocating Lake Erie, governments on both sides of the border teamed up and helped bring the lake back to life. This kind of coordinated action is needed once again. Today’s commitment is a good sign that our leaders recognize this need and are prepared to step in and protect the health of the lake.
The main culprit behind the blooms is phosphorus pollution from agricultural fertilizers, wastewater treatment plants, and poorly maintained septic systems. Climate change and invasive species are making the situation worse because they help to create a perfect environment for algal growth. 
Lake Erie supplies drinking water for millions of people, and is critical to fishing, boating and tourism industries. The 40 per cent commitment is an important step forward towards cleaning up Lake Erie, and protecting the region’s economy, drinking water and way of life. Environmental Defence looks forward to working with Canadian and U.S. governments and the farming community to develop the action plans needed to meet the necessary reductions.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 228; 905-330-0172 (cell); jmayville@environmentaldefence.ca