News and Analysis
Ohio “Unclassifiable” for NO2
Ohio EPA is seeking “unclassifiable” as the status for Ohio related to tighter standards on nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Ohio’s existing network of monitors for NO2 is small but has historically registered levels well within limits.
The new standard will require additional monitors and lower levels of NO2. Until the monitors can be placed and data collected, Ohio’s request will keep the state in compliance with regulations. U.S. EPA may reject Ohio’s request and require modeling for NO2 which could lead to increased regulations.
The OMA supports environmental regulations based on sound science and sufficient data. As such, the OMA will be submitting comments at the December 27th hearing supporting Ohio EPA’s request. Contact Kevin Schmidt at the OMA if you have questions or would like to learn more about this issue.
Ohio Adopts U.S. EPA Tailoring Rule
Governor Strickland issued emergency rules last week that adopted U.S. EPA “tailoring rule.” The tailoring rule limits greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations to only those sources emitting more than 75,000 tons or 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalents.
While this is the first time GHG’s are mentioned as a regulated compound in Ohio’s rules, the emergency rule was necessary because U.S. EPA put states on notice that failure to adopt the rule would result in emission sources as small as 250 tons being regulated. Regulation at this level would have brought in office buildings, dry cleaners, and other non-traditional sources. Ohio’s rule was crafted in a way to enable Ohio EPA to roll back regulations should the federal requirements regarding GHG’s cease.
U.S. EPA Delays Portions of Mandatory GHG Reporting Rules
U.S. EPA moved late last year to delay certain reporting obligations under the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Rule related to confidential business information (CBI). The original proposal included all data elements in emission equations as non-confidential “emission data.”
Traditionally, CBI determinations have been made on a case-by-case basis. Industry groups and the Federal Trade Commission commented that the release of such information could result in competitive disadvantages for some facilities and potentially lead to price collusion among others. Click here to read more from OMA Connections Partner, Squire Sanders.
Ohio EPA Issues Report Citing Mobile Sources as Problem
Ohio EPA released this week a report that compiles data collected over the past nine years regarding “air toxics,” certain volatile organic compounds and heavy metals. The report shows that in all but a handful of isolated cases elevated levels of air toxics are from mobile sources such as cars and buses. This tracks with data the OMA cites in Retooling Ohio, which shows the progress manufacturing has made in environmental stewardship.
“As the state plans to comply with ever tightening and burdensome federal environmental requirements, a broad approach that takes into account sources outside of the manufacturing sector will be essential,” said OMA director, public policy, Kevin Schmidt.
OMA Requests Extension on Proposed Storm Water Permits
The OMA, along with a number of other industrial groups, is issuing a letter this week on Ohio EPA’s proposal to replace the existing 36 page general permit for storm water discharges with a 171 page replacement. The replacement includes no less than 30 “sector specific requirements,” enhanced monitoring requirements and a raft of other regulatory obligations.
The OMA’s letter asks for a 90-day extension of the comment period, which currently expires on December 16, so that manufacturers and other affected industries can evaluate the massive new permit. A fact sheet on the proposal prepared by Ohio EPA can be found here.
Contact Kevin Schmidt at the OMA at 614-629-6816 if you have questions or would like to learn how to submit comments on the proposal.
U.S. EPA Asks for Delay on Boiler MACT
U.S. EPA petitioned the federal courts this week for an extension on proposed regulations regarding industrial boilers, process heaters and solid waste incinerators. The so called “Boiler MACT” proposal had been vigorously challenged by industry (see the OMA’s November 5 story) as unworkable and unattainable. Also, a group of senators recently sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce requesting a study on the economic impact of the rule.
U.S. EPA’s recent extension request, if granted, will give the agency an additional 16 months to refine its proposal in response to industry’s concerns.
U.S. EPA Asks for More Time on Ozone Standards
U.S. EPA petitioned the courts this week for more time to review, develop and implement stricter ozone standards. U.S. EPA is considering a new ozone standard between a range of 60 to 70 parts per billion (ppb), which was to be adopted this year.
As the OMA had previously reported and communicated to U.S. EPA, the proposed range would lead to punitive regulations in Ohio and is premature, as the current standard of 75 ppb has not been fully implemented, nor the results studied. Ohio’s ground-level ozone concentrations have dropped nearly 40% since 1981 and continue to decline.
Read the OMA’s Environmental Retooling Ohio to learn more about manufacturings’ leadership on environmental improvement.
Ohio EPA Industrial Storm Water Permit Draft Open for Comment
Ohio EPA recently released its proposed general storm water permit for industrial activity. The current general permit, which expires on May 31, 2011, consists of 36 pages and contains broad, non-industry-specific permit requirements. The new proposal consists of 171 pages and is industry-specific adding both monitoring and effluent limitations.
Compliance with the new permit requirements will add costs to industry and increase exposure to enforcement at a time when many Ohio manufacturers are still struggling. Ohio EPA is accepting comments on the draft proposal until December 23, 2010, and a public hearing on the proposal has been scheduled for December 16, 2010. OMA will be submitting comments on this proposal and its impact on manufacturers. Contact Kevin Schmidt to provide your insight and input.
This Week’s OMA Environment Committee Materials Available Online
Meeting materials from this week’s OMA Environment Committee are available. The group heard from John Hendricks of AEP Environmental Services regarding environmental issues common among manufacturing and utilities. Additionally, the committee discussed the recently released Best Available Control Technology guidance on greenhouse gas permitting. To engage on these issues, contact Kevin Schmidt at the OMA.
U.S. EPA Releases Vague Guidance on Greenhouse Gas Permitting
U.S. EPA this week released guidance for the states in implementing new regulations on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V permits.
The guidance doesn’t offer much certainty for business, at all. It simply lays out a general process for permitting actions: 1) look at the technically feasible options, 2) evaluate cost, and 3) pick the option that achieves the best reductions within affordable limits. This process is open to widely varying interpretations of specific situations, causing productivity-draining litigation.
U.S. EPA did note in its guidance that energy efficiency is a viable option for reducing GHGs, as are carbon capture and sequestration. The OMA is working with the Ohio EPA on this particular matter.
Contact Kevin Schmidt at the OMA if you would like to learn more about this issue.