Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, sent a letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich urging him to veto House Bill 231, which would allow Ohio manufacturers, mining operations, power plants and other businesses to draw up to five million gallons of water a day directly from Lake Erie before facing regulation.
Ceretto argued that the bill would threaten the power producing capability of the falls by siphoning off too much water and severely reducing water flow to the Niagara Falls power plant, which is one of New York state's largest energy producers. Ceretto said this bill would also have a severe environmental impact on the region, including Canada. In fact, he said the legislation may be in violation of the international Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Compact.
"The environmental and economic consequences of this bill are enormous," said Ceretto. "The state has a massive reliance on energy produced at the falls, and Lake Erie is an important part of the region's tourist industry. This bill threatens both, and it is akin to the Ohio State Legislature declaring war on Western New York."
"While I understand that, in these difficult economic times, states are looking to utilize all their resources to create jobs, this bill would have disastrous economic and environmental long-term effects on the region that far outweigh any short-term benefits," said Ceretto. "States that signed the Great Lakes Compact have a duty to protect this valuable resource, and I believe it would be in the region's collective best interest if Governor Kasich vetoed House Bill 231."