A coalition of groups and businesses sue the EPA

(Cleveland) - To force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect communities and businesses from harmful algal blooms that have plagued Lake Erie for years, today a coalition of businesses, conservation advocates, and sportsmen groups sued, asking a federal judge to order the agency to carry out its duty under the Clean Water Act.

 “Delay threatens Lake Erie and businesses like ours,” said Captain Paul Pacholski, president of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association. “Charter boat captains are counting on the U.S EPA to step up and do its job, because this problem will not go away on its own. The health of our business depends on the health of Lake Erie.”

Pacholski tells Newsradio WTAM 1100, poisonous algae blooms slashed his business by 25% two years ago, and he's concerned that pollution could get worse if EPA funding is reduced. 

In 2014, a harmful algal bloom poisoned drinking water for more than 400,000 people in Toledo, and in 2015, an algal bloom stretched for over 300 square miles. 

Pacholski is also worried that without proper funding, the EPA may not be able to prevent invasive species like bighead carp and silver carp from getting into Lake Erie, and permanently ruining an Ohio fishing industry that trying to bounce back.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes, National Wildlife Federation, Lake Erie Foundation, Michigan  United Conservation Clubs and Ohio Environmental Council are also parties to the lawsuit.

There are reports that the Trump Administration plans to abolish Region 5 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which serves Ohio, as well as Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Minnesota as part of the fiscal year 2018 budget.

(Photos by Getty Images) 

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