Legislation extends Great Lakes drilling
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.