Sen. Brown Announces SBA Disaster Loans for Western Ohio Counties Affected by Algae in Grand Lake St. Marys

Ohioans Affected by Toxic Algae Bloom in Grand Lake St. Marys can Receive Financial Support Deadline of July 19 for Applying for Assistance is Quickly Approaching

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that Federal loans are available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and non-profits in Auglaize, Mercer, Allen, Darke, Hardin, Logan, Shelby and Van Wert Counties. The Economic Industry Disaster Loans (EIDLs), made available through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), will be available to businesses in the area that have been economically impacted as a result of the toxic algae bloom in Grand Lake St. Marys.

“Grand Lake St Marys is an important economic driver in Western Ohio. When the lake is affected, so are the Ohio businesses that surround it,” Brown said. “From fishing to boating to drinking water, the lake is vital to Ohio’s economy. These funds will help small businesses that rely on the lake’s resources to get back on their feet.”

According to Frank Skaggs, director of SBA Field Operations Center East, businesses that have suffered financially as a result of the disaster can apply for low-interest loans for the SBA and must do so before July 19, 2011. Ohio business owners may also qualify for the SBA’s EIDL program. EIDL assistance is available to businesses and non-profit organizations. Eligible entities could receive loans up to $2 million with interest rates of 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses. All disaster victims must apply by the July 19 deadline.

Ohioans seeking disaster loan information and application forms can call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET, or send an e-mail to  Loan application forms can also be downloaded from Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

Brown, the first Senator from Ohio to serve on the Agriculture Committee in 40 years, has worked during the past three years to secure water quality conservation funding for Grand Lake St. Marys that encourages farmers to use best practices – including cover crops and buffer strips – that will improve the long-term health of the lake. Brown also wrote to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack this past spring in support of a methane digester project to reduce harmful algal blooms, like the cyanobacteria in Grand Lake St Marys.