Lawmakers want answers from EPA on toxic algae

Three House Republicans are asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) what it’s doing to prevent tap water crises like the one in Toledo, Ohio, in August.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonThirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Overnight Health Care: Lawmakers get deal to advance long-stalled drug pricing bill | House votes to condemn Trump's anti-ObamaCare push | Eight House Republicans join with Dems | Trump officials approve Medicaid expansion in Maine The 8 Republicans who voted against Trump's anti-ObamaCare push MORE (R-Mich.) and members John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusDems look to bypass EPA with asbestos ban House votes to block Trump from exiting Paris climate accord A conservative climate plan will build on personal responsibility while reducing emissions MORE (R-Ill.) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio), asked for various details on the EPA’s efforts to reduce toxic algae blooms like the Lake Erie one that caused the Toledo crisis.

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The EPA is drafting a health advisory on Microsystin-LR, one of the toxic compounds produced by algae blooms. High levels of microsystins led Toledo to issue a do-not-drink order for a weekend in August.

“We are deeply concerned by any threat to the water supply, and we appreciate the time and information your agency has devoted as we seek answers,” the lawmakers wrote in a Wednesday letter.

“While we hope the advisory will be released as soon as possible, we appreciate that it is first going through an independent peer review process to ensure the advisory is based on accurate available data and sound science,” they said.

The Toledo crisis brought new national attention to many of the issues involved, including the agricultural nutrient runoff that scientists believe caused the algae to get out of hand.

An advisory on Microsystin-LR would be designed to help water quality managers decide what levels are safe for drinking water and possibly how to treat high concentrations.

In their letter Wednesday, the lawmakers asked questions about the concentration levels the EPA will put in the advisory, whether it will include guidance on treatment and what testing mechanisms it will recommend, among other questions.