A new Lake Erie lawsuit targets TMDL

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

A new chapter is developing in the legal battle over resolving water quality problems in the Western Lake Erie Basin. Earlier this month, the Lucas County Board of Commissioners, City of Toledo, and Environmental Law & Policy Center filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The lawsuit targets the EPA’s approval of Ohio’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan for the Maumee River Watershed. If it feels like déjà vu, that’s because it is. In the 10 years since Toledo experienced a drinking water crisis caused by harmful algal blooms in the Western Basin, there have been four federal lawsuits demanding a plan for improving water quality in the lake and a legal battle to protect the lake with a “Lake Erie Bill of Rights.”

The current litigation arises from a 2023 settlement agreement that led the Ohio EPA to create the TMDL for the Maumee River Watershed.… Continue reading