State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today applauded the passage of House Bill (HB) 7, his bipartisan legislation joint-sponsored with Rep. Haraz Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg) to create the H2Ohio Trust Fund to protect, preserve and improve water quality across Ohio.
“In the entire United States I am not aware of any program such as H2Ohio Trust Fund, which seeks to protect and preserve our most precious natural resource: water,” said Rep. Patterson. “Bold in its conception, grand in its design, and visionary in its mission, it is absolutely imperative that we move HB 7 forward to address the pressing issues of water quality from Ohio’s Great Lake to Ohio’s great rivers, streams and ponds. Protecting our natural beauty is our promise to the next generation of Ohioans.”
The H2Ohio Trust Fund will be funded at up to $100 million per fiscal year through appropriations, proceeds from property transactions and debt obligations from the state treasury. The bill also creates the H2Ohio Advisory Council to coordinate grant and loan programs, support research and oversee water quality initiatives funded by the H2Ohio Trust Fund.
The Fund will address a number of diverse water quality issues, such as making purchases, developing and implementing remediation programs and other projects designed to address water quality priorities.
“HB 7 is a small but important step to address the challenges of water quality across our entire state,” added Patterson. “The problem will not be solved in the life of this General Assembly nor even in the life of this administration. This is precisely why the H2Ohio Program will be permanent—not just a ten year endeavor, but one that will require ongoing effort.”
The legislation was given priority status last month by Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford). After passing the House 90-3, HB 7 now moves to the Senate for further consideration.