The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Canada’s announcement that targets have been finalized for reducing phosphorus entering Lake Erie in “affected areas” sounds like an extension of the EPA’s power over all waters of the U.S.
The concern with the Chesapeake Bay water pollution situation is that the EPA is jumping in to establish rules and regulations related to watersheds—taking the power away from the states. And those opposed to this, such as the American Farm Bureau, which has filed a lawsuit, has all along said allowing the EPA to run roughshod over local authority just sets the stage for the EPA to do the same elsewhere.
Most have long anticipated the next move would be related to the Mississippi River watershed region of the country, but Lake Erie appears to be the next target. Enforcement of an international agreement would seem to give the EPA more justification than just power grabbing from state regulators and local organizations attempting to solve the problem of algae bloom in shallow Lake Erie.
The Mississippi River basin is next then maybe the flow of water in the southeast from Georgia and Alabama into Florida, and who knows what is next. In actuality, whether the EPA wins or loses in enacting its Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule over the dissent of rural Americans, the agency will being doing as it wants by claiming that states and local authorities aren’t doing enough to control water pollution.