Brown, Portman Secure Provisions to Protect Lake Erie in Spending Bill Set to Become Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) announced final Senate passage of Energy and Water appropriations bill, which includes important wins for Lake Erie. The bill, which now heads to the House before going to the President’s desk to be signed into law, includes language to prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers from dumping toxic material dredged from the Cuyahoga River shipping channel into Lake Erie without the approval from the State of Ohio. 

The bill also includes language requiring the Corps to make every effort to release its Chief’s Report for the Brandon Road Study by February 2019, which Senators Brown and Portman have repeatedly asked of the Corps. This report is crucial to ensuring that Asian Carp do not enter the Great Lakes and threaten the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishing industry. 

Together, Portman and Brown have fought to hold the Corps to its obligation to dredge the channel and dispose of the dredged sediment in a way that protects the water quality and ecosystem of Lake Erie, which is critical to local jobs and businesses along the lake. 

“Lake Erie is a source of pride for Ohio -- it’s important for local businesses, local jobs, and the local ecosystem,” said Brown. “This language will help us keep Lake Erie clean, keep the channel open for business, and ensure the Lake remains a viable resource for generations to come.”   

“The Cleveland Harbor project is vital to all of Ohio and we must ensure that the dredged material is not inappropriately disposed of by dumping it in Lake Erie without approval by the Ohio EPA,” said Portman. “I’m glad this language to protect Lake Erie was included in the conference report and I will continue use every tool available to make sure both the City of Cleveland’s water supply and Lake Erie’s ecosystem is protected. I am also pleased that this legislation also urges the Corps to complete its Brandon Road Study by February 2019, which is crucial to protecting the Great Lakes’ from Asian Carp.”

Together, Brown and Portman have fought to hold the Corps to its obligation to fully dredge the shipping channel and dispose of the dredged sediment in a way that protects Lake Erie, which is critical to protect the thousands of jobs that rely on the Port of Cleveland as well as the health and ecosystem of Lake Erie. Legislation they co-authored to keep toxic dredged material from the Cuyahoga River out of Lake Erie was signed into law in December 2016.

In addition, Portman and Brown sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers urging the Corps to complete their Brandon Road Chief’s Report so that federal, state, and local policymakers can determine the most effective measure to prevent further Asian carp movement and protect the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishing industry. Last June, an eight pound Silver carp was found just nine miles from Lake Michigan.

###