The following regulatory moves occurred in 2018, potentially changing the face of agricultural environmental law in the United States.
(1) Water Quality: Ohio Governor Signs Executive Order and Legislation Addressing Agricultural Runoff into Lake Erie
On July 11, 2018, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed an executive order and legislation addressing water quality in Lake Erie. John Kasich, Governor, State of Ohio, Executive Order 2018-09K, Taking Steps to Protect Lake Erie (July 11, 2018), available at http://governor.ohio.gov/Portals/0/executiveorders/Signed%20EO%202018-09K.pdf?ver=2018-07-11-160429-970×tamp=1531339482234 (last visited Oct. 2, 2018). This new law directs the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to consider designating eight watersheds in western Lake Erie as “Watersheds in Distress” under the Clean Water Act § 303(d). Assuming the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission (OSWCC) approves the designation, ODA will set regulations limiting runoff to these watersheds. ODA would then establish nutrient management requirements (e.g., manure management plans for feedlot operations). This will ensure better control of farm impacts from manure, erosion, and related issues. Governor Kasich also signed Senate Bill 299, known as the Clean Lake 2020 Plan, which provides funding for water management programs effective October 10, 2018. S.B. 299, G.A. 132, Finance Projects for Protection of Lake Erie and Its Basin (2018), available at https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-SB-299 (last visited Oct. 2, 2018).