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Great Lakes Article:

Legislation extends Great Lakes drilling ban
The News-Messenger (OH)
Published November 24th, 2004

WASHINGTON -- A ban on oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes will be extended for two years as a result of congressional action late last week.

Legislation also included measures that make the Great Lakes eligible for funding to research low-oxygen areas known as "dead zones" that kill fish.

Both are measures that Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, wrote and helped secure passage of in the Congress. Both now go to President Bush for his signature.

"The Great Lakes are an incredible resource," Voinovich said. "Their proximity to major urban areas has made them an invaluable resource for drinking water, recreation and transportation, but they're also a vital habitat for fish and wildlife."

The current ban on Great Lakes drilling was enacted in 2003. The new ban, passed as part of the 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Act, will extend the moratorium to the end of 2007.

Dead zone legislation was originally passed by the Senate in 2003. It was modified and passed again by the Senate on Friday and by the House on Saturday.

It reauthorizes the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998, which expired in 2001, and makes the Great Lakes eligible for research funds originally provided only for research on coastal and marine waters.

Algal blooms in the lakes can cause hypoxia or depleted oxygen levels in water when they die and are decomposed by bacteria. Their decomposition consumes oxygen, creating an environment in which plants and animals cannot survive, often called a dead zone.


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