Senate Passes Portman Legislation to Protect Lake Erie

May 12, 2016 | Press Releases

Passed as Part of the Senate’s Broader Energy & Water Appropriations Legislation 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) released the following statement after the Senate passed legislation to prevent the Army Corps’ of Engineers from disposing of dredged materials from the Cleveland Harbor Project in Lake Erie without approval by the Ohio EPA.  Passed as part of the Energy and Water Appropriations measure, this Portman priority will help protect the health and ecosystem of Lake Erie.

“The Cleveland Harbor project is vital to all of Ohio and we must ensure that the dredged material is not inappropriately disposed of by dumping it in Lake Erie without approval by the Ohio EPA. I will continue use every tool available to make sure both the City of Cleveland’s water supply and Lake Erie’s ecosystem is protected.”

NOTE: Portman, as chairman of U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter requesting information regarding the Army Corps of Engineer’s (Corps) efforts to dredge the Cleveland Harbor on March 24, 2016.

PSI is examining the allegations that the Corps deliberately reduced its budget for the Cleveland Harbor project in order to render itself unable to dispose of material in a manner required by law.  It has been reported that the Corps cut its own budget by roughly $3 million—to less than it actually needs to dispose of the dredged material safely.

Portman also secured language preventing the Corps from using federal dollars to dispose of dredged materials in Lake Erie if it does not have approval from the State of Ohio in last year’s Omnibus bill.