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Ohio farm challenges Lake Erie Bill of Rights day after Toledo voters approve it

Katie Bordner

An Ohio farm in the Lake Erie watershed is suing to stop people from using the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, fewer than 12 hours after Toledo voters approved it.  

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights amends Toledo's charter to try to give residents a legal basis to intervene in the lake's interests. 

The big concern for many is phosphorus-containing fertilizers from farms. The phosphorus encourages toxic cyanobacterial blooms.  

Drewes Family Farms lies along Needles Creek, part of Lake Erie's watershed. The owners say they use best practices to keep fertilizer out of the watershed, but they have to use fertilizer to stay in business, and they say there's no guarantee they can keep all of it out. 

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to keep anyone from suing on the basis of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, and also a declaration that it is unconstitutional. 

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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