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“Technically Flawed, Not Legal and Unworkable”

December 5, 2014

In filing Ohio EPA comments to the federal government’s “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources” (also called the “Clean Power Plan”),  Ohio EPA director Craig Butler called the plan “technically flawed, not legal and unworkable.”

Among its comments:

“U.S. EPA failed to understand and recognize the unique circumstances of Ohio as a deregulated energy marketplace. Within the proposal U.S. EPA compares vertically integrated and deregulated marketplaces, however nowhere does U.S. EPA take these differences into consideration in establishing the best system of emission reduction.”

“Currently, it is PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM), as delegated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) through the Federal Power Act, whom determines dispatch order by utilizing the least expensive resource first to meet energy demand. Nowhere is U.S. EPA delegated authority for states to usurp the Federal Power Act and mandate generation dispatch based on CO2 emissions rather than cost.”

“U.S. EPA disregarded specific and detailed concerns from entities responsible for guaranteeing grid stability.”

“U.S. EPA’s cost analysis is flawed and radically underestimates the projected cost of electricity from this proposal.”

Read the Ohio EPA talking points.

Staff of the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (which participated in the rule analysis) are to be commended for the thorough technical and legal analysis conducted on behalf of our state.

OMA to U.S. EPA: Abandon Carbon Rules

December 5, 2014

The OMA submitted written comments to U.S. EPA’s “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources:  Electric Utility Generating Unit.”   These are the proposed carbon regulations for electricity generators, also known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

The OMA wrote:  “U.S. EPA should abandon the current CPP plan, which appears impractical and based on flawed interpretations of the Clean Air Act.  Instead the OMA and its members encourage U.S. EPA to reconsider its current plan and outline a more reasonable path forward that supports Ohio jobs and its economy by allowing all energy sources to play a role in America’s energy future.”

On the likely effect on the Ohio economy, the OMA said:  “There is a direct correlation between the cost of energy and manufacturing output.  A study conducted by Cleveland State University found that an increase in the industrial electricity price of 1% kilowatt-hour is likely, in 99% of cases, to decrease average manufacturing productivity on average, by $2,527 of annual gross state product per employee. The research indicates that a 1% increase in industrial electricity prices drops manufacturing productivity by 0.13%.  Thus, electricity prices increased by the CPP will have a significant effect on the gross state product of Ohio.”

Feds Prepare New Ozone Standards

December 5, 2014

U.S. EPA issued this press release announcing its intention to tighten the ozone air quality standards from the current 75 ppb (parts per billion) to within a range of 65 to 70 ppb.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review the standards every five years.  EPA last updated these standards in 2008, setting them at 75 ppb.

The agency estimates annual costs at $3.9 billion in 2025 for a standard of 70 ppb, and $15 billion for a standard at 65 ppb.  These estimates are in conflict with the NAM/OMA numbers released earlier this year in a study based on a 60 ppb standard.  The costs associated with that study have the proposed standard as the most expensive regulation on record.

Interested parties will have 90 days in which to comment after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, expected soon.  The final rule is scheduled to be released October 1, 2015.

New Lake Erie Dredging Regs Proposed

November 21, 2014

The House this week passed legislation, HB 490, which contains new regulations on dredging in Lake Erie and its tributaries.  The new regulations, together with proposed new regulations on manure spreading and on wastewater treatment facilities, are intended to help address the problem of summer algae blooms in the lake.

The bill would prohibit dumping dredging material in the lake after July 1, 2020, without approval of the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA).

Scientists believe that open-lake dumping of dredge material from the Maumee River and Toledo Shipping Canal contributes to the algae blooms.  The regulations would also effect dredging in the Cuyahoga River, a shipping channel that is crucial to manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the creative leadership of the Port of Cleveland has come up with a dredging material disposal plan that resolves a disagreement between the Army Corps of Engineers and the Ohio EPA.  The corps has wanted to dump dredging material in the lake; the Ohio EPA prohibited it; navigation on the river was threatened.

Now, the port, using grants from the Ohio EPA, will begin to collect and sell silt in a beneficial reuse of the materials, and will reengineer the disposal facility near Burke Lakefront Airport to extend its life for another 50 years.  This is great news for Ohio manufacturers.

111(d) Comments Due December 1

November 21, 2014

The extended deadline to file comments on the U.S. EPA’s proposed emissions reduction regulations for existing power plants (the 111(d) “Clean Power Plan”) is December 1, 2014.

The Partnership for a Better Energy Future, of which OMA is a member, has prepared model language as a resource for Partnership members, and their members, to prepare comments on the rule.

Members are encouraged to use the document to supplement their own comments.  Information on submitting comments to U.S. EPA can be found here.  OMA’s contact on the issue is Rob Brundrett.

Criminal Penalty for Knowing Water Violations

November 14, 2014

HB 490, which has become a vehicle for lame duck amendments, contains language which would allow the Ohio EPA to seek criminal charges for knowing violations of clean water regulations.

This language was developed after an “egregious and intentional” act of fracking water dumping in northeast Ohio revealed a gap in state law.  The agency had to go to the federal government for prosecution, and would have preferred for the state itself to handle it.  The proposed standard is similar to standards in other environmental regulations.

The Ohio EPA has been working with the OMA for several months on this matter.  Here is a letter from Ohio EPA director, Craig Butler, to OMA public policy services staff member, Rob Brundrett, explaining the intent of the language.

Ready for an Ohio EPA Inspection?

November 14, 2014

Ohio EPA has released a 4-page fact sheet, Preparing Your Business for an Ohio EPA Inspection, to help companies understand and prepare for an Ohio EPA inspection.  Ohio EPA district and local offices have the authority to inspect a company at any reasonable time.  The fact sheet offers helpful tips for companies that are subject to an inspection.

Ohio EPA Releases Fact Sheet on Calculating Emissions from Coating and Painting Operations

November 14, 2014

Ohio EPA has released a fact sheet explaining how to calculate emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), hazardous air pollutants (HAP) and select toxic air contaminants (TAC) from common coating and painting operations.

This information is needed for air permit applications and for ongoing air permit recordkeeping and reporting requirements.  The guide includes example calculations that cover most common scenarios and permit requirements.

OMA Work Group Proposes Adding Paint to Universal Wastes

October 31, 2014

An OMA work group on universal wastes this week submitted a memorandum to Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler urging the agency to expand universal waste to cover paint and paint-related wastes.

The work group notes:  “Ohio’s universal waste rules are intended to promote recycling as well as proper disposal by easing certain regulatory requirements.  Ohio currently has four categories of universal waste that may be managed under the program: lamps; suspended or recalled pesticides; mercury-containing devices; and batteries.  Ohio EPA has shown a willingness to expand universal waste to cover spent antifreeze and aerosol cans.”

“Importantly, these changes would be of great help to manufacturers by reducing cumbersome paperwork and storage requirements, while ensuring that paint-related wastes continue to be handled properly in Ohio.  Making this change could reduce the regulatory burden on manufacturers by changing their status from Large Quantity Generator (LQG) to Small Quantity Generator (SQG) or even in some rare cases Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG)…” wrote the work group.

And, “A significant number of manufacturers in Ohio are LQGs simply due to the amount of paint and paint-related waste they manage. Classifying these waste streams as universal waste provides incentives to recycle while relieving burdens of regulatory paperwork requirements.”

For more information on this issue or on the OMA universal waste work group, contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett.

EPA Director Butler Visits OMA Environment Committee

October 24, 2014

Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler visited with members of the OMA Environment Committee this week.  He discussed the wide range of issues, both state and federal, with which the agency, and manufacturers, are dealing.

Also at the meeting, members heard a presentation from Tonja Rammel, EHS Manager, Crown Equipment Corporation, winner of Ohio EPA’s first Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Gold Award.  The gold award recognizes superior environmental stewardship and provides the awardee with environmental regulatory flexibility.

You can get a quick update on environmental regulatory matters in this report to the committee from OMA environment counsel Frank Merrill of Bricker & Eckler LLP.   If you need to follow environmental matters for your facility, be sure you are subscribed to the Environment community at My OMA.