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Ohio EPA has made difference

As the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency celebrates 40 years this month, it is important that citizens don’t overlook the positive impact the agency has had on lives of millions of Ohioans.

The agency has unfairly received somewhat of a negative image for initiatives driven by the federal EPA and for some of its own unfunded mandates handed down over the years, which is certainly a legitimate criticism.

The Ohio EPA recently touted some of its legitimate examples of success over the past four decades:

> In the 1980s, 21 percent of big rivers met aquatic life standards. Now, 89 percent meet.

> Since the 1970s, carbon monoxide in the air is down 80 percent; sulfur dioxide is down 71 percent and lead is down 95 percent.

> Today, Ohio has 40 licensed, protective landfills instead of 1,300 open dumps.

> 99 percent of community public water systems now meet health-based standards, up from 85 percent in 1993.

The ideas that the state can remain “business friendly” but still insisting on protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive to one another. Both can be accomplished through commonsense initiatives.

That should be the agency’s driving focus for the next four decades.