Gov.-elect John Kasich urged farmers to self-regulate and police one another when it comes to protecting the environment, including Grand Lake St. Marys.
“I am not big on imposing rules and regulations on 100 people when we need to take one person out and put him in the stockade and throw some fruit and vegetables at him,” Kasich told members of the Ohio Farm Bureau on Friday.
“We are committed to improving the situation at Grand Lake St. Marys in a rationale, common sense way,” Kasich said. He noted that his newly appointed agriculture director, Jim Zehringer, a Republican lawmaker and farmer from Fort Recovery, will lead the effort.
Over the last two summers, the 12,700-acre man-made lake suffered from algae outbreaks which led to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency advisories to avoid contact with the water. The algae blooms are caused by run off of manure and fertilizers from watershed lands feeding the lake — mostly farms.
Kasich told reporters on Friday: “There are a handful of farmers who are recalcitrances. What I don’t want to have to do is punish everybody for the sins of a few. So, we got to go whack their knuckles first. And that’s what Zehringer will do. Unfortunately, if they don’t want to clean it up, we won’t have a lot of choice. We’ve got a lot of farmers down there doing a lot of talking to the people that don’t want to cooperate….clearly, something has to be done at that lake. We can’t lose that lake.”