Last week, Governor Kasich announced his plan to combat algae blooms, responsible for the release of the toxin microcystin into the state’s waterways and the recent shutdown of Toledo’s municipal water supplies. The proposed plan combines grants for local water systems, research and support for farmers. Specifically:
Ohio will provide more than $150 million in grants and interest-free loans to help cities fight the kinds of toxic algae that shut down Toledo’s drinking water two weeks ago, the directors of three state agencies announced yesterday. The state also announced that it will spend $1.25 million to help farmers plant cover crops and improve drainage systems to reduce the amount of fertilizers that flow from their fields into nearby streams and rivers.
What does everyone notice about the numbers here? $150 million is a lot more than $1.25 million. It means that the state is spending 120-times as much on combating the symptom (contaminated water supplies) as they are on the cure (eliminating the farm runoff that causes algae blooms in the first place).
This ridiculous imbalance all but ensures that algae blooms will continue. Swimming, boating and fishing will be activities taken at one’s own risk.