Senate Hearing on Farm Conservation and Water Features Testimony by Toledo Mayor

On December 3, 2014 the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry convened a Committee hearing on, “Farmers and Fresh Water: Voluntary Conservation to Protect our Land and Waters.”  The hearing featured statements from a number of Senators and a variety of witnesses including representatives from Toledo, Ohio, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the University of Arkansas, and several agricultural organizations, as well as Jason Weller, Chief of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Michael Collins, the Mayor of the City of Toledo provided testimony that included an overview of the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) incident in Toledo in August 2014 that led to a 72 hour water ban as well as increased drinking water treatment costs and economic losses.  He specifically urged Congress to work together with the Administration to make the Great Lakes region’s water quality issues a priority by providing additional research funding; having EPA set a Federal water quality standard for toxic algae blooms; and prioritizing and targeting funding for infrastructure and conservation in the watersheds that most affect water quality in Lake Erie.  Other statements and questions by Senators and witnesses focused on:

  • The Implementation and effectiveness of agricultural conservation and best practices for reducing nutrient pollution and improving water quality;
  • The need for more data and research to measure water quality improvements; and
  • The success of voluntary programs and subsequent opposition to agricultural regulations, including the controls of the proposed EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers “Waters of the U.S.” rule (that is being negatively perceived by farmers).

For more information about the hearing, to view the recorded video, and read the written testimonies, visit the web site HERE.