EPA plan seeks cuts in pollution that causes Lake Erie algae

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is calling for stepped-up efforts to control nutrient pollution responsible for algae blooms in Lake Erie, but isn’t proposing more federal regulations to accomplish the task.

The EPA on Wednesday released a plan for reducing levels of phosphorus that feed giant masses of algae on the shallowest of the Great Lakes. It largely builds on state initiatives seeking a 40 percent cut by 2025.

But the agency says techniques must be refined to do better at determining where phosphorus is coming from, when it’s getting into the lake and what form it’s taking. Of particular importance is limiting dissolved phosphorus, which creates toxins that endanger drinking water.

Environmental activists say the plan has good ideas but doesn’t hold the states accountable if they fall short.