Senate OKs Lake Erie 'dead zone'
The Plain Dealer
Washington- Lawmakers hope to soon get full congressional
approval to study low-oxygen "dead zones" in
The Senate passed legislation Tuesday night that would
provide $2 million to study problems in Lake Erie, and
authorize spending nearly $80 million nationally to research
harmful algae blooms in waterways. The blooms deplete
oxygen needed by fish and plants, creating dead zones
that kill aquatic life.
Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich, who co-sponsored
the bill written by Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe,
said Lake Erie's stability is under threat from increased
algae blooms in the Great Lakes since 1995.
"This legislation will help ensure the preservation
of Lake Erie for our children and grandchildren,"
At a field hearing Voinovich conducted in Cleveland last
year, witnesses said the problem is probably caused by
invasive species like zebra mussels that are altering
the lake's balance, but they said more research is needed.
The bill's House counterpart has been approved by its
If both houses approve the bill, the study money would
need later approval from House and Senate appropriations
Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine and Toledo Democratic
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who are members of those committees,
have co-sponsored the bill, and Kaptur aide Steve Fought
called chances of obtaining the money "pretty good,"
given its bipartisan support.