COLUMBUS, OHIO - Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and state Senators Cliff Hite (R-Findlay), Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and John Eklund (R-Munson Township) yesterday joined Governor John Kasich on the banks of Lake Erie as he signed into law legislation that continues the Senate's efforts to protect Ohio's natural resources and ensure safe, clean drinking water for all Ohioans.

"This legislation is another step forward in protecting one of our most precious natural resources," said Obhof, who co-sponsored Senate Bill 2. "It helps us better protect our drinking water supply while also streamlining government operations."

Also joining the governor and senators at the Great Lakes Science Center were Craig Butler, Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Bill Stanley of The Nature Conservancy, and Will Friedman of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, as well as members of various environmental, agricultural, and waste management organizations and local chambers of commerce and businesses.

"I appreciate the input received from the agriculture and environmental communities, as well as local governments, in helping to develop this important piece of legislation," added Hite, who sponsored Senate Bill 2.

Senate Bill 2 enhances the role of the Lake Erie Commission by meeting Ohio's commitments to reducing phosphorus run-off by 40 percent, as outlined in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. This legislation better equips the Commission as it works to implement the Lake Erie Protection & Restoration Strategy.

Other provisions of Senate Bill 2 include:

Assures thorough management of privately-owned water systems.

Requires ongoing asset management improvements by public water systems to address recurrent problems.

Harmonizes federal and state law, allowing the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director to issue permits for entities discharging into privately-owned treatment facilities.

Encourages beneficial use of dredged materials from federal navigation channels such as Port Cleveland and Port Toledo.

Strengthens the Ohio EPA's ability to evaluate and enforce the clean up of landfill facilities and properties. The bill also updates state requirements pertaining to construction and demolition debris to ensure safe processing, storage and disposal of materials.

Provides the Ohio EPA Director authority to waive, transfer and revoke or modify a 401 Water Quality Certification. Ohio law currently only allows the Director to approve or deny a certification.

Senate Bill 2 was a priority piece of legislation for the Senate, which passed it unanimously on March 15 of this year. To learn more about this bill, watch here.