After Two Years of Debate, Lake Erie Still at Risk
In a 20-12 vote today, the Senate voted to pass an unbalanced bill that falls short of adequate protection for Lake Erie's rivers and impairs the rights of hunters and anglers and the public's use of waters within the Ohio Lake Erie drainage watershed. HB 473 is legislation that would implement the Great Lakes Compact. Following the Ohio Senate's passage of House Bill 473, environmental, conservation and sportsmen groups responded today with disappointment and grave concerns for the future of Ohio's waters.
"The bill rewards big businesses at the expense of recreational users, residents, wildlife and the waters of Lake Erie," said Kristy Meyer, director of Agricultural & Clean Water Programs at the Ohio Environmental Council. "It is now up to the governor to ensure Ohio adopts a more balanced approach for Lake Erie and the wildlife, residents and businesses that depend upon it."
In 2008, Ohio joined with 7 other states in adopting the Great Lakes Compact-an unprecedented joint agreement providing protections against diversions of water outside of the Great Lakes basin and unwise water use within the basin. Following the passage in each individual state, the Compact was adopted by the U.S. Congress.
Ohio's General Assembly was then required to pass legislation to implement water management and conservation programs under the Compact. Gov. John Kasich rightfully vetoed the first version passed by the legislature last year, as it fell short of providing the necessary protection for Lake Erie and its vital tributaries. While the new legislation is improved, it still falls short in the some of the same major areas that are needed to protect Lake Erie and its vital tributaries.
"Lake Erie and its rivers and streams provide world class steelhead and walleye fishing. Unfortunately, this bill fails to protect these special resources," said Marc Smith, senior policy manager with National Wildlife Federation. "Hopefully, Governor Kasich recognizes the importance of Lake Erie to Ohio's economy and our way of life by vetoing this bill."
In addition, House Bill 473 also impairs the rights of hunters, anglers and the public to challenge decisions that would threaten their ability to enjoy and recreate in Ohio's Lake Erie Basin.
"Governor Kasich did the right thing by vetoing the initial version of Great Lakes Compact legislation," said Rick Unger, president of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association. "While we appreciate his engagement in the issue and his concern over the protection of the Lake Erie Basin, we urge him to consider throwing this one back, as well."
During the consideration of the legislation, former Govs. Bob Taft and George Voinovich raised concerns in a letter to lawmakers, urging them to amend HB 473 to protect recreational users' rights to appeal a water use permit, as well as protect Lake Erie and its rivers. Former Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Sam Speck, who negotiated the Compact agreement amongst the Great Lakes states, stressed the importance of striking a fair balance between industry's access to water and maintaining sustainable water supplies in the Lake Erie drainage basin in testimony before the House.
Among others, the legislature also heard concerns voiced from a wide variety of sporting and boating groups, including the Izaak Walton League of America, Ohio Division; the League of Ohio Sportsmen; Ducks Unlimited; the Bull Moose Sportsmen Alliance; Central Ohio Anglers and Hunters; Lake Erie Charter Board Association; Ohio B.A.S.S. Federation Nation; Grand River Sailing Club; and the Greater Cleveland Boating Association.
As a result of recreational and commercial fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, tourism and travel, Lake Erie supplies the state with more than $10 billion in economic revenue each year and 1 out of every 10 jobs in the counties along the coast. It is the most biologically productive of all the Great Lakes. It produces more fish for human consumption than all the other Great Lakes combined. "Protecting Lake Erie and its rivers are vital to the health of Ohio's wildlife and economy," said Josh Knights, executive director of the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
Senators that voted to pass the legislation:
Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond)
Cliff Hite (R-Findlay)
Mark Wagoner (R-Ottawa Hills)
Kevin Bacon (R-Village of Minerva)
Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township)
Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City)
Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering)
Shannon Jones (R-Springboro)
Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati)
Chris Widener (R-Springfield)
Keith Faber (R-Celina)
Jim Hughes (R-Columbus)
Bob Peterson (R-Sabina)
Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard)
Kris Jordan (R-Powell)
Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville)
Larry Obhf (R-Montville)
Dave Burke (R-Marysville)
Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton)
Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster)
Senators that voted against the legislation:
Lou Gentile (D-Stubenville)
Eric Kearny (D-Cincinnati)
Edna Brown (D-Toledo)
Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville)
Charleta Travares (D-Columbus)
John Ecklund (R-Munson Township)
Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland)
Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood)
Nina Turner (D-Cleveland)
Frank LaRose (R-Akron)
Tom Sawyer (D-Akron)
Joe Schiavoni (D-Canefield)
For more information, click here.
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
- Climate Crisis: What We Can Learn From Indigenous Traditions ... ›
- 10 Organizations Honoring Native People on Thanksgiving ... ›
- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
- Your Guide to Talking With Kids of All Ages About Climate Change ... ›
- 7 of the Best Ted Talks About Climate Change - EcoWatch ›
- Katharine Hayhoe Reveals Surprising Ways to Talk About Climate ... ›
An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.
<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="24c36ab7f041f96875677ba1e9dc1944"><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/CapeLookoutNPS/posts/3608024915884969"></div></div>
- 411 North Atlantic Right Whales Remain: This Solution Could Help ... ›
- Sixth North Atlantic Right Whale Found Dead Prompts Concern ... ›
- First North Atlantic Right Whale Calf of the Season Spotted off ... ›