Algae Bill Revised to Allow Some Farmers A Limited Exemption

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Changes to a bill designed to reduce the toxic algae in Lake Erie would give some farmers a way to avoid penalties for a year or two if they violate a proposed ban on spreading manure.

Generally, the measure would prohibit farmers from spreading livestock manure on frozen fields or when heavy rain is in the immediate forecast.

But revisions being considered Tuesday by an Ohio House panel would allow a one- or two-year exemption for certain livestock farmers trying to comply with the new rules. Another change tightens wording around frequent violations.

The bill comes less than a year after a toxin contaminated the drinking water in Toledo and part of southeastern Michigan last August.

The House’s agriculture committee planned to discuss the revisions and possibly vote Tuesday afternoon.