Ohio Pledges $25M In Lawsuit Settlement Money To Help Remove Gorge Dam On Cuyahoga River
The state of Ohio will use $25 million in settlement money from Monsanto to help pay to remove the Cuyahoga River Gorge Dam, Gov. Mike DeWine’s office announced Friday.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency says the announcement is a “key step” – though not the final one – toward getting the state and local funding needed to restore the river’s Big Falls and resolve what’s been called the river’s largest remaining water-quality problem.
The $25 million will come out of an $80 million settlement that Monsanto, an agribusiness company owned by pharmaceutical giant Bayer, reached with the state earlier this year over the company’s decades-long production of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs — toxic compounds that weren’t manufactured in Ohio but have polluted the Cuyahoga River and other Ohio waterways. As part of the settlement, Ohio agreed to use the money for environmental projects.
The money will cover the $24.5 million that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and local partners pledged several years ago to put toward removing the dam, situated near the mouth of The Gorge MetroPark, between Akron and Cuyahoga Falls.
Additional state funding could come from the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program and Gov. Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio program.
Improving water quality across the state has been a key focus of my administration, and generations of Ohioans will benefit from the improvements that will be realized by removing the Gorge Dam,” DeWine said in a statement. “This project will return the Cuyahoga River to a free-flowing river from Kent to the mouth of Lake Erie, will vastly improve water quality in the Cuyahoga River, and will pave the way for recreation, tourism, and economic development opportunities in this area.”
A state PCB Advisory Board, which recommended putting the $25 million toward the dam-removal project, is now accepting proposals from state agencies, other public entities, nonprofit groups, and universities on how to spend the remaining $55 million in settlement money, according to the release.