Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 9:18 AM
The House has passed a bill that would put into place the Great Lakes Compact, a multi-state deal to prevent massive withdrawals of water from the Lakes.
Statehouse bureau chief Karen Kasler reports lawmakers positioned it as a showdown between business and the environment.
The bill sets a daily limit of 2.5 million gallons of water that can be taken from Lake Erie daily without a permit, and allows withdrawals from certain streams to be averaged out over 90 days. Sponsoring Republican Lynn Wachtmann of northwest Ohio also notes that the bill does include limit who can appeal permits to people who can prove economic or property damage from withdrawals - for a reason.
"There are those in this country, those in this state who would love to shut down every job and every industry because they think that's better for the environment."
But Democrats said the voice of business was drowning out the protests of environmentalists. Rep. Bob Hagan of Youngstown said Ohio's waterways have been damaged by manufacturing, and slipped in a sly slap at Wachtmann, who runs a bottling company and a water softening business.
"Some people have even decided that they can't find the drinking water, that they opened up another company, and they sell bottled water. Why? Because you can't drink the water."
The bill passed on a party line vote and now goes to the Senate.