US agency reverses course on Lake Erie toxic algae decision

FILE – In this Aug. 3, 2014, file photo, the water intake crib for the city of Toledo, Ohio, is surrounded by an algae bloom on Lake Erie, about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative program that may be on the Trump administration's chopping block has funded work in Ohio to slow down Lake Erie's toxic algae. A draft of the Environmental Protection Agency's budget proposal obtained by The Associated Press shows the Great Lakes fund is one of several programs targeted for big cuts. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it shouldn’t have approved Ohio’s recommendation not to declare Ohio’s western end of Lake Erie impaired by toxic algae.
The agency’s reversal didn’t go as far as ordering the lake to be designated as an impaired watershed. But the EPA’s reversal sent in a letter to Ohio officials last week said the state’s list of impaired waters was incomplete and didn’t properly evaluate the lake’s waters.
Several environmental groups have sued EPA saying the lake should be classified impaired because algae blooms are preventing the waters from meeting basic quality standards.
The designation would pave the way for increased pollution regulations in the shallowest of the Great Lakes. Algae outbreaks have fouled drinking water in recent years and are a threat to wildlife.