The Oil Sector can create scores of jobs for tradesmen

first_imgDear Editor,I participated in the just concluded Inaugural Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exhibition, and must congratulate the organizers and participants for making the conference one of meaningful discussion and analysis, and moreover a forum at which pertinent information was shared and burning questions posed. This should provide for a better understanding of the complexities, challenges and opportunities of Guyana’s emerging oil and gas industry.This should allow local businesses to begin their SWOT analyses (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) as they relate to their becoming players in the oil and gas industry.For me, one of the more enlightening panels was titled ‘Doing Business in Oil Field Services, Supply Chain and Facilities Management’.  This panel had main speakers who were representatives of three major sub-contractors of ExxonMobil, and they outlined some of the skills these companies are looking to source locally, the required qualifications of those who could fill these positions, and the processes which potential applicants would have to use to apply for available positions.In one case, one of the companies disclosed that it had already hired ten (10) University of Guyana graduates who are currently undergoing specialized training in Brazil, and they will soon be recruiting another 20.During the discussions, skills such as welding were identified as among those required, and this led me to pose the following question to the panel: Is there scope for Guyanese tradespeople such as welders, electricians, plumbers and carpenters who are competent at what they do, have years of experience, but lack certification? I was happy to hear that all three companies had already taken this issue into consideration and have in place a process for identifying such persons with a view to undertaking what they describe as “a gap analysis” to determine what training, if any, would be necessary to make these persons certifiable so as to be engaged in the oil and gas industry.This should be one avenue of local content which should be of benefit to Guyanese men and women who have acquired on-the-job skills and experience over the years but have not been formally trained. It is my hope that the information and methodology for identifying and accessing these uncertified artisans are widely publicized throughout Guyana, so as to provide an opportunity for all that are interested. It seems to me that this is one area where there will be jobs for a significant number of Guyanese.It is clear that the oil and gas industry is one where skills certification in order to be engaged is an absolute must. There can be no issue with this. It brings to mind an experience I had decades ago, while I served as the public relations officer of the then Guyana Liquor Corporation (GLC). As part of an interviewing panel for promoting a distillery supervisor to manager, I asked why the alcohol had to be heated to a specific degree.The man knew that the alcohol had to be heated to a specific level, but did not know why. He had been working for over 25 years in the distillery. Yesu Persaud, then chairman of GLC, said to me after the interview, “That man does not have 25 years’ experience, he has had one experience for 25 years.”RegardsWesley Kirtonlast_img read more

Free data for GTT mobile customers in light of sub-sea cable breakage

first_imgIn light of the sub-sea cable breakage, GTT is offering mobile customers free data as the company is working strenuously to address the problem.GTT customers have been experiencing difficulties in using the *100# system to recharge their accounts, buy data plans and access other services including After Two Belongs to You (AF2).The local telephone giant had previously indicated that the problem occurred last Sunday as a result of a breakage on one of the sub-sea systems GTT uses in Martinique.Since the cable breakage, GTT’s technical team has been working round the clock exploring several options to have the problem fixed.“While we cannot currently provide a resolution time we are making progress in getting alternatives to ensure that there is no such recurrence. Recognizing that customers are unable to buy data plans, the company, effective (Wednesday), made free data available to all prepaid and postpaid smartphone users,” a release from the company on Thursday stated.GTT is assuring customers that once the service is restored, all eligible customers will be compensated for the fact that they could not opt in to FA2. Additionally, the data roll over balance will be adjusted for those customers who normally re-subscribe at the expiry of their data plan.“Our collection of payments for other services has also experienced challenges and we will therefore delay our usual scheduled disconnection process for non-payment to mitigate any issue that may arise.”GTT said it will continue to keep customers updated via the traditional and social media and will make every effort to minimise the issues which resulted from the sub-sea cable break.The company says it regrets and apologises for every inconvenience caused.last_img read more

Closing Remarks at the Emmet A. Dennis 2nd Annual Scientific Conference

first_imgAs I indicated in my printed statement in the conference brochure, I am humbled and blessed that this absolutely necessary conference, that honors me, is not a post-mortem event. The value and benefits of the two conferences so far cannot be overly exaggerated.I am really flabbergasted by the success of the two conferences, particularly, the broad based and continued support from the sponsors, including the Center for Disease Control under the leadership of the progressive, Dr. Desmond Williams,  the National Institute of Health, the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases and PREVAIL, led by the brilliant and compassionate Dr. Cliff Lane, Africa Bio, FHIClinical, GIZ, the Joint West African Research Group (JAWARZ),  the Ministry of Health, under the leadership of Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah USAID. Ministry of Agriculture, WHO  not to mention the key implementing organizers,  the National Public Health Institute of Liberia under the leadership of the incredible Honorable Tolbert Nyensuah, the Liberia Field Epidemiological Training Program and Network (AFENET), represented by Dr. Naame Amo-Addae, and the University of Liberia, under the dynamic leadership of  Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks.In fact, at one point, given that which I perceived as the relatively high financial cost of the first annual EAD scientific conference, and in the light of the current financial crisis in our Country, I did not think a second conference would be possible this year.  I sort of alluded to this in one of my emails to Dr. Mosaka Fallah, who assured me that planning for the second conference was on course.The work horses of the conference, including the Scientific, Logistics/Secretariat, and Information Technology and communication committees, headed by Dr. Peter Adewuyi, Faith Whesseh, and Joseph Wiah, respectively have performed a marvelous task making this conference a successful reality.I am particularly pleased that many young people are attending and presenting at this conference. I would like for these same embryonic scientists to come back next year with much more upgraded presentations.  The learning experience here, both as presenters and audience, I think, has been an indelible scholastic opportunity.Something about the birth of the EAD Scientific Conference. As the commencement speaker of the 2016 commencement of the T.J.R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology of the University of Liberia, when Dr. Mosoko F. Fallah announced that NPHIL would establish a national scientific conference in my honor, I took it with a grain of salt because I know, at my age and experience, many dreams do not become realties. I am pleased that when the University of Liberia/University of Indiana and University of Massachusetts Medical School joint grant that brought Dr. Mosoka Fallah to Liberia, expired, I told him that he wasn’t going anywhere. The rest is history.  I find Dr. Fallah to be a really committed and highly productive scientist. Thank you Mosoka.Thank you Dr. Boley, not only for a substantive presentation here yesterday, but for facilitating the naming of the Emmet A. Dennis Molecular Biology Laboratory at the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research.Dr. Clift Lane, your research organizational acumen in establishing a genuine reciprocally beneficial research unit here in Liberia is incredible. As I indicated, I constantly refer to PREVAIL as a collaborative model. Thanks, so much to you and your team.Dr. Desmond Williams, CDC did a fantastic job during our Ebola crisis and is an indispensable pillar of NPHIL for which you deserve adulation.  I still want to be like you when I grow up.Dr. Massaquoi’s role as a senior scientist in the region will soon become legendary.  Thanks for your indispensable scientific leadership.You know as I observed the current productive competence of some of our current Liberian biomedical scientists and workers like Dr. Soko Morris, Dr. Boley, Dr. Steve Kennedy, Miata Gbanyi, Dr. Anderson, Dr. Kieh, Dr. Dekontee Dennis, Dr. Johnson, etc., I am assured that in our country, the competent will not be the available but the available will be the competent.Dr. Johnson, when you were giving introductory remarks representing PREVAIL, I thought about your pathetic plea in my class as a medical student which resulted in my bringing a human skeleton in my suitcase to replace the broken down half skeleton at the medical college. Today, your position at PREVAIL is a testament of your astute professional determination and accomplishments.You know, when Honorable Tolbert Nyenswah talked about our initial relationship, he was modest about my admiration for the level of excellence at the Malaria Control Unit at the Ministry of Health, where he played a pivotal role as a deputy with the late Dr. Joel Jones. The competence of the MOH’s Malaria Control Unit resulted in the awarding of the prestigious and internationally competitive President George W. Bush’s President Malaria Initiation. Dr. Joel Jones knew quite well that the success of a leader is dependent on the qualitative productive profile of members of her/his team.   The role of Honorable Nyenswah in the current reduced status of the overall prevalence of malaria, as well as the current controlled status of Ebola in our country are very commendable.  The accomplishments of a leader are dependent upon the qualitative productive profile of each member of her/his team.  A chain is as strong as its weakest link.You know, at our first plenary session two days ago, Our Vice President of Liberia, Honorable Jewel Howard Taylor,  in her inspirational remarks, called for GOL’s consideration for research funding.  This is great. However, I have watched the career of the Vice President with admiration and appreciation. As a law student at the University of Liberia (UL) during my tenure as President, she stuck me as being very studious with an obsession with self-development irrespective of her political positions.  As a Senator and Vice Chair of UL Board of Trustees, her performance was exemplary. Thank you much Madam VEEP for the appreciation roses, my real first experience.It is our wish that the critical and unique research collaborations exemplified in the hosting and presentations at the two conferences will continue along the lines of reciprocal benefits and sustainability such that results will not only constitute and add knowledge but will inform policies, both nationally and internationally.The fact that Ebola disease research, including vaccine trials, carried out in Liberia by US & Liberian scientists now benefits Ebola endemic countries attests to the value of reciprocally beneficial collaborations.On another issue…. My dear people, our country has been developing for over 170 years and we continue to be developing. How long do we intend to be developing? Are we the never grown-up child? Our status of continuous dependency in a rich resource environment is untenable and must end.   Therefore, while there is ‘Research and Development’ in the industrialized world, our modus operandi in Liberia must be ‘Research for Development.’ International begging must come to an end and be replaced by that which President Tolbert called self-reliance.Funding for ‘Research for Development,’ as indicated above, must be a national agenda. We, in this country, have implemented too many flawed projects and policies because they were not informed by the results of systematic research.  ‘Research for Development’ has got to be our sine-quo-non. Mr./Madam Presiding Officers, as I sat through presentations at this conference, I noted that a relatively significant number of organizations were involved in or sponsoring public health research with a relatively high level of collaboration and cooperation.  The relatively high level of coordination, collaboration and cooperation that exists among institutions cited in the program documents of this conference is very laudable.  We applaud NPHIL for its chartered coordinating responsibility for biomedical and public health research in our country.Finally, I find it incredible to have this conference, the Emmet A. Dennis Scientific Conference. Then, there are the Emmet A. Dennis Molecular Laboratory at the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research, and the Emmet A. Dennis College of Natural Sciences at Cuttington University.  What a blessing!Thanks to all of you for making all of these possible and let’s make this valuable conference a reality in perpetuity.Emmet A. Dennis, Ph.D.Professor, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of LiberiaPresident emeritus, University of LiberiaDepartment Vice Chair, Dean, Associate Provost, Vice President emeritus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.AFounding Director, the Liberian Institute for Biomedical ResearchShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Passengers stranded at JFK, CJIA

first_img…as Dynamic Airways cancels flightsThe holiday travel plans for hundreds of passengers in Guyana and New York, United States have seen major disruptions as air carrier Dynamic Airways over the weekend cancelled at least two flights – one out of Guyana and the other from the John F Kennedy Airport. On Sunday, images surfaced of passengers camped out, many fast asleep at JFK while at Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), passengers and their worried families were seen haplessly standing outside the departure entrance in the afternoon hours.More than 200 passengers at the CJIA had turned up to travel Saturday morning, but have been waiting ever since.  According to reports, passengers in New York have been stranded at JFK since Friday evening and were anxiously awaiting word from the airline.Meanwhile, on local shores, Dynamic Airways representative in Guyana, Captain Gerry Gouveia attempted to pacify passengers late Sunday afternoon.Hundreds of passengers were camped out at JFK waiting for their Christmas-bound Dynamic Airways flight to GuyanaHundreds of passengers stranded at the CJIA“I am extremely concerned and sensitive about the feelings and emotions of the Dynamic passengers that are experiencing delays and cancelled flights in both JFK and GEO at this time,” he disclosed via his social media account.Captain Gouveia also explained that two of Dynamic’s 767 Boeing flights were grounded after a ground handling truck at the New York airport “accidentally hit the left engine” .“The engineers are working around the clock to return that aircraft to serviceability,” Gouveia stressed.He noted that the second aircraft was used and was flown twice. However, the back-up aircraft also developed issues.“On the return flight to JFK, the aircraft developed a maintenance issue, which is currently being rectified by the maintenance teams working around the clock to fix,” the Gouveia claimed.“I am really sorry these events occurred at this time, but would like to reassure the passengers that every effort is being made to resolve this delay as soon as possible,” the airline’s local representative stressed.Meanwhile, according to reports coming out of New York City, Dynamic representatives at JFK are reluctant to provide detailed information that the Guyana-bound passengers requested.  Guyana Times understands that representatives gave to passengers a telephone number, which provided flight information. However, passengers were greeted by automated recorded messages and were unable to garner any key information on when their flights would leave the airport.  Passengers at both airports are still awaiting their flights.last_img read more

England fan falls through bus stop in London celebrating Sweden win

first_img England will play their first World Cup semi-final since 1990 where they will face the winners of the Russia v Croatia game Goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli sent Sweden packing in Samara in a what was an emphatic performance.While the majority of English fans at home are celebrating by drenching themselves in over-priced lager, there are some who chose to be slightly more over-elaborate in their celebrations.With temperatures reaching 31 degrees in the capital, fans were certainly in a state of hysteria.However, one fan made a bit of a scene when he decided to jump from the top deck of double decker bus, and onto a nearby bus stop.As you can see from the video below, the results do not go to plan! #Clapham #SW11 ⚠️The public are being reminded to stay safe. Reports have come in of a male jumping up and down on top of a double decker bus who then proceeded to jump onto the top of a @TfL Bus Shelter and consequently fell through it. @TfLBusAlerts Video @mecafolidas pic.twitter.com/VIvhnoaNlv— London 999 Feed (@999London) July 7, 2018 Clapham junction…. spot the guy falling through the bus shelter…🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 pic.twitter.com/GzeCGUG4Ui— victoria coulson (@vickycoulson) July 7, 2018 However you choose to celebrate England reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup, please do so in a responsible manner.Gareth Southgate’s men are guaranteed to equal their best ever World Cup finish since 1990, after victory over Sweden on Saturday secured their place in the last four in Russia. 1 Scenes at Clapham Junction (watch the guy on the bus at the end) #ItsComingHome #threelions #ENG #worldcup pic.twitter.com/8QxICVgW2T— Matt (@maffyou) July 7, 2018last_img read more

Birmingham vs Swansea: Live commentary, team news and kick-off time

first_img Best clips, calls and talkSPORT moments of 2019, feat Hearn, McCoist and more possible standings TEAM: Here’s how Blues line-up for this evening’s game. 📋 #BluesLIVE pic.twitter.com/dJw3Mkk1P5— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) August 17, 2018 Getty What time is kick-off?The games takes place on Friday, August 17.It will be held at St. Andrews, where kick-off is at 7.45pm.These sides last met in the league way back in 2008, with the tie here ending in a drab 0-0 draw.How can I listen on talkSPORT?This match will be live on talkSPORT2, with coverage from 7.30pm.You can tune in via our online player, or alternatively use your DAB radio to listen to all the action from the Midlands.If you’re looking to tune in on the TV, all the action will be shown on Sky Sports Football and Main Event. ALTERED How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures 📝 | Here’s tonight’s starting XI…🔘 Mulder makes his first start🔘 Rodon remains🔘 Benda and James on the bench pic.twitter.com/822r4DifhH— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 17, 2018 Birmingham have the chance to record their first Championship win of the season when Swansea visit on Friday night.Despite off-field issues preventing Garry Monk from landing his major transfer targets, the ex-Swans boss will still be hopeful of getting one over his former employers. 1 NEW ERA FOOTBALL LATEST Tottenham predicted XI to face Brighton with Mourinho expected to make big changes smart causal How Arsenal could line up in Arteta’s first official game in charge – Ozil return? Monk was manager of Swansea between 2014 and 2015 Tottenham v Brighton LIVE: talkSPORT commentary and team news for Boxing Day opener Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade What is the team news? highlights gameday last_img read more

Council to weigh conversion of rental units to condos

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Some neighborhoods in the city have older apartment buildings built at more than twice the density currently allowed. For years, the city’s Planning Department had not forced owners converting apartments to comply with more recent zoning codes. But with more owners converting their buildings in recent years, the council voted June 7 to enforce current zoning codes for conversion projects. City Hall has heard from apartment owners concerned about the enforcement of lower-density requirements for conversions. That’s why the council decided to discuss what to do about owners who might seek exemptions, a discussion that will involve balancing competing concerns. “We need more housing, we need more rentals,” Weaver said. “But the bottom line for me is densities. People complain there’s too many (people) here now.” Bill Shaw, president of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, said with housing prices as high as they are, cities should encourage homeownership by allowing apartment-building owners to convert all their units to condos. GLENDALE – As it re-examines how to handle apartment owners’ attempts to convert rental units to condos in overbuilt neighborhoods, the City Council today will wrestle with the competing concerns of promoting homeownership and controlling housing density. In the late 1980s, Glendale city officials moved to control density, but the zoning rules they established only applied to new projects. They didn’t apply to old apartment buildings built under previous rules that allowed more units. With the housing market boom of the past few years, apartment owners have looked to cash in by converting their units to condos. But city officials want to force those projects to comply with the more recent zoning codes by requiring building owners to reduce the number of units by taking out walls and combining smaller apartments into larger condos. “If you’re going to start converting apartments into condos and stuff, (the city will) lose control in terms of ever rehabilitating areas and reducing density,” City Councilman Dave Weaver said. “Let the market dictate what the needs are for people rather than a bunch of bureaucrats,” he said. The council voted to enforce the zoning requirements for conversion projects after the Planning Department received a bunch of conversion applications. It got five applications from December to March, compared with only a couple applications or less per year before that. From June 7, when the council voted to enforce the zoning requirements, to the July 30 deadline it set for projects to come in under the old non-enforcement standard, the city received about 15 condo-conversion applications that would create 202 units. If those were new projects under today’s density standards, only 111 units could be built on those sites. Alex Dobuzinskis, (818) 546-3304 alex.dobuzinskis@dailynews.com IF YOU GO: The Glendale City Council will hold a special meeting today at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the issue of apartment buildings being converted to condos. The meeting will be held at City Hall, 613 E. Broadway. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Warriors-Thunder cheatsheet: Here comes a red-hot OKC team

first_imgAfter losing all three games during their Texas Three Step road trip (read about those here, here and here), can the Warriors (12-6) get back on track against the red-hot Thunder (10-6)?When/Where: Oracle Arena, 7:30 p.m.Projected Thunder starters: Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Steven Adams, Jerami Grant, Hamidou DialloHow the Thunder are doing: After losing their first four games of the season, the Thunder come into Wednesday’s game one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference, …last_img

Immigrating to South Africa

first_imgThinking of settling in South Africa? Here’s information on immigration categories, requirements and application procedures, and the answers to some frequently asked questions.Sunrise over the Johannesburg city skyline. South Africa is a land of opportunity for many, attracting immigrants from across Africa, and the world. (Image: Brand South Africa)To immigrate and live in South Africa, you need a permanent residence permit. This permit grants the holder all the rights, privileges, duties and obligations of a citizen, except for those which are explicitly ascribed to citizenship.Important noteThis article is currently under review as the regulations covering immigration and visas have been changed. In the meantime, please visit the Department of Home Affairs at www.dha.gov.za for more information.Read more:Visiting South Africa: visasSouth Africa tightens immigration rulesSouth Africa opens new visa facilitation centresSouth Africa to enforce new regulations on travelling with kidsThis information is a guide only. Requirements for immigration to South Africa are subject to change, and each application is treated as an individual case. Always make enquiries before travelling to South Africa.Where can I make enquiries about immigration?See Department of Home Affairs website for information on permanent residence permits.Find out where to apply in your own country from this list of South African offices abroad.South Africa’s immigration policy is embodied in the Immigration Act, which prescribes the requirements which are to be met by an applicant who wishes to immigrate to the country permanently.Read the Act in full: Immigration Act (No 13 of 2002)Who can immigrate to South Africa?South African immigration law aims to protect the health and security of South Africans, as well as their rights to employment opportunities in the country.South Africa has a vast reserve of unskilled and semi-skilled workers. Generally, a prospective immigrant to South Africa should not follow an occupation for which there are already sufficient people available to meet the country’s needs. Unskilled and semi-skilled workers, in particular, will not usually be accepted as immigrant workers in South Africa.Conversely, immigrants who are in a position to contribute to the broadening of South Africa’s economic base will be welcomed. Applications by skilled workers in occupations for which there is a shortage in the country are encouraged – particularly applications by industrialists and other entrepreneurs who wish to relocate their existing businesses or establish new concerns in South Africa.What are the requirements for immigration?Because of the need to create job opportunities for South African workers, prospective immigrants should be seriously committed to investing their assets, skills and experience for the benefit of themselves and the people of South Africa.If you wish to immigrate permanently to South Africa, you should be of “good and sound character” and not follow an occupation in which there are already sufficient people available to meet the country’s needs.In order to make an application for a permanent residency permit, applicants must first submit representation to the Minister of Home Affairs motivating why he or she should be declared not to be a prohibited person or an undesirable person.All applications for permanent residence are considered individually on merit by an autonomous statutory body, the Immigrants Selection Board.Immigration categoriesPermanent residence permits are divided into two main categories:Direct residence (Section 26): This is issued to foreigners who have been on a work permit for five years and who have received a permanent offer of employment. In general, if a foreigner meets all the requirements, their spouse and children under 21 will likewise qualify for permanent residence.Residence on other grounds (Section 27): This includes foreigners who:have been made a job offer within certain conditionspossess exceptional skills or qualificationsintend to set up a business in South Africathose who intend to retire hereare financially independentqualify as refugeesrelatives of a South African citizenAll immigration applicants older than 21 must submit to a personal interview.Where do I apply for immigration?In general, you should apply for immigration to South Africa while in your country of residence, and await the outcome of your application before proceeding to South Africa. You should apply at your nearest South African office abroad.However, you may apply for immigration while in South Africa – at your nearest Home Affairs provincial office – if:You are in the country on a valid work permit; orYou are married to, or the child of, a South African citizen or permanent resident, and are in South Africa on a valid temporary residence permit; orYou are being sponsored for immigration purposes by a blood family member who is permanently and lawfully resident in South Africa and are in South Africa on a valid temporary residence permit; orYou have been exempted from the requirement to hold a temporary residence permit.How long is my permit valid for?Once you have been granted permanent residence, you need never to apply again. However, you must take up residence in South Africa within a year of being granted permanent residence.Brand South Africa reporter, incorporating information from the Department of Home Affairs Reviewed: 10 March 2014Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

A new Lake Erie battle: Lucas County sues U.S. EPA over western basin water quality

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law ProgramDisagreements over how to improve the health of Lake Erie have led to yet another federal lawsuit in Ohio. This time the plaintiff is the Board of Lucas County Commissioners, who filed a lawsuit in federal court in April against the U.S. EPA. The lawsuit accuses the U.S. EPA of failing to enforce the federal Clean Water Act, which the county believes has led to an “alarming” decline in the water quality of western Lake Erie.The Clean Water Act requires states to monitor and evaluate water quality and establish water quality criteria, and also to designate a water body as “impaired” if it does not meet the criteria. Once a water body is on the impaired waters list, the state must create Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the water body. TMDLs determine the maximum amounts of each pollutant that can enter a water body and still allow the water to meet the established water quality criteria. Plans for reducing a pollutant would be necessary if the pollutant exceeds the TMDLs. The state’s efforts to establish the water quality criteria, designate impaired waters and develop TMDLs are subject to review and approval by the U.S. EPA, who must ensure that the states are taking adequate action pursuant to the Clean Water Act.Lucas County alleges that the U.S. EPA has failed in its Clean Water Act obligations by allowing Ohio to refuse to prepare TMDLs for the western basin of Lake Erie. Even after another court battle forced the designation of the western basin as “impaired,” the county explains, Ohio’s EPA declared the western basin to be a low priority for TMDL development and has not yet proposed either TMDLs or an alternative plan for addressing the basin’s impaired water status. Lucas County argues that since Ohio has not established TMDLs for the impaired waters of Lake Erie, the U.S. EPA must step in and do so.The county also contends that the lack of state and federal action on the impaired waters status of the western basin has forced Lucas County to expend significant resources to maintain and monitor Lake Erie water quality for its residents. According to Lucas County, such actions and costs would be unnecessary or substantially reduced if the U.S. EPA had fulfilled its legal obligations to ensure the preparation of TMDLs for the western basin.Agricultural pollution is an explicit concern in the county’s complaint. The development of TMDLs for the western basin would focus needed attention and remedial measures on pollution from agricultural operations, Lucas County states. The county asserts that TMDLs would establish a phosphorous cap for the western basin and methods of ensuring compliance with the cap, which would in turn address the harm and costs of continued harmful algal bloom problems in Lake Erie.The remedy Lucas County requests is for the federal court to order the U.S. EPA to either prepare or order the Ohio EPA to prepare TMDLs for all harmful nutrients in the western basin, including phosphorous. The county also asks the court to retain its jurisdiction over the case for continued monitoring to ensure the establishment of an effective basin-wide TMDL.This is not the first TMDL lawsuit over the western basin. In early February of this year, the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) and the Toledo-based Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie filed a lawsuit that similarly alleges that the U.S. EPA has failed to require Ohio to establish TMDLs for the western basin, which is still ongoing. The case followed an earlier and successful push by the ELPC to order Ohio to declare the western basin as impaired, which the state had refused to do previously.The newest round of litigation again highlights differences in opinion on how to remedy Lake Erie’s phosphorous pollution problem. Like the TMDL lawsuits, a successful effort by the Toledoans for Safe Water to enact the Lake Erie Bill of Rights was also predicated on claims that Ohio and the federal government aren’t taking sufficient action to protect Lake Erie. Lucas County made it clear that it isn’t satisfied with the state of Ohio’s approach of providing funding to promote voluntary practices by farmers to reduce phosphorous pollution, despite stating that the county isn’t “declaring war on agriculture.”In its press conference announcing the current lawsuit, the county explained that the state’s voluntary approach won’t provide the “sweeping reforms we need.” On the other hand, the Ohio Farm Bureau has argued that the TMDL process for Lake Erie can take years longer and be less comprehensive than the voluntary practices farmers are pursuing. Still others believe that more research will help us fully understand the phosphorous problem and identify solutions.As battles continue over the best approach to improving Lake Erie’s water quality, maybe all could at least agree that litigation is costly, in many ways. An alternative but perhaps more challenging path would be appreciation of the concerns on both sides of the issue and cultivation of collaborative solutions. Let’s hope we can find that path.last_img read more