News and Analysis
Earlier this month, Ohio EPA published notice of proposed revisions to its air pollution Best Available Technology (BAT) program. The litigation-delayed changes are intended to align Ohio’s BAT program with the law enacted in the OMA-advocated Senate Bill 265 in 2006.
Ohio EPA had delayed making many of these changes while the court system heard and eventually allowed the ten-ton BAT rule, which permits the Ohio EPA to issue permits to sources that produce less than ten tons of emissions per year without first determining whether those sources will employ BAT.
OMA environmental counsel at Bricker & Eckler produced this memo for interested members.
On April 16, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") released two new draft vapor intrusion guidance documents for public comment. The two documents can be found here and here. The new guidance replaces EPA's draft 2002 policy and sets out significantly expanded investigation and remediation requirements.
Read a briefing from OMA Connections Partner, Jones Day.
Ohio EPA's Office of Compliance Assistance & Pollution Prevention (OCAPP) offers tons of resources for those responsible for environmental compliance, safety and production improvements.
For example: On May 30, the office co-hosts a day-long workshop on reducing or eliminating the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products.
Here is OCAPP's latest newsletter. The office has numerous resources available by subscription that you can tailor to your concerns.
This week, Ohio EPA Director Scotty Nally testified on the agency’s budget proposal in the Ohio Senate. Among other items, he requested that the Senate re-insert language that would allow Ohio EPA to begin a process to replace the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the authority over the Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting program.
Section 404 establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into U.S. waters, including wetlands. That program is currently administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ohio EPA already carries out the separate 401 water quality certification process as a part of that permitting effort.
Ohio EPA argues that by having both programs under its authority the permitting process would be streamlined and would eliminate confusion and delays that result from dealing with two separate agencies.
Several states' EPAs, including Michigan and New Jersey, currently have this authority and other states are in the process of seeking approval.
If you have any questions regarding this proposal or would like more information, please contact OMA's Rob Brundrett.
This week the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) submitted a letter, with the OMA as a signatory, to the U.S. EPA which seeks better disclosure from the EPA of lawsuits brought against the agency that give rise to “sue and settle” rulemakings.
"Sue and settle" refers to circumstances in which the EPA is sued and, rather than litigating, settles and agrees to issue a new regulation. Entities which are impacted the most by these regulations are almost never notified a suit has been filed. The NAM letter requests that EPA develop a notification system that would inform stakeholders of any legal action against the agency.
Last year Ohio EPA rolled out its first round of "Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Awards." The program recognizes the accomplishments of Ohio companies that reduce waste, improve efficiency and work to continuously improve as an environmental stewards. The program has three levels of recognition: bronze, silver and gold. Applications for recognition can be found here.
Since his appointment, Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally has promoted state recognition of Ohio companies - and especially manufacturers - that are working hard to improve the environment of the state. Nally says, “If you're doing something great for the environment, tell us about it. By recognizing Ohio businesses and other organizations, we can improve Ohio's environment through innovation and efficiency."
Ohio EPA is in the process of developing rules to reduce the impacts of nutrients in surface waters that cause "cultural eutrophication." Cultural euthrophication can result in harmful algal blooms, the depletion of dissolved oxygen and fish kills. It is typically associated with high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen.
As it begins the process to adopt criteria to address cultural eutrophication, Ohio EPA is requesting input from stakeholders prior to development of rule language. The agency has created this 'Early Stakeholder Outreach' fact sheet that details the study and rulemaking process. And more information is available on the agency web site. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact OMA's Rob Brundrett.
This week Ohio EPA released the first draft proposal from its Ohio Solid Waste Management Review. The agency has been meeting with interested parties across the state to review and update Ohio’s solid waste laws. The draft released this week is the first deliverable from the project. The proposal contains nine changes to the local planning process with the goal of providing a more flexible and meaningful plan for solid waste management districts.
Ohio EPA has requested comments on the draft proposal by April 1.
In conjunction with the draft release, Ohio EPA also introduced the final version of its Vision 2035 which stems from the review. Interested parties requested a vision from the agency that would outline the goals for Ohio’s solid waste future. The vision statement incorporates stakeholder input.
The OMA is working with OMA Connections Partner, Hull and Associates, to gather member data on their industrial byproducts that could be - or are being - used for beneficial reuse purposes. Hull is developing a database of the types and volumes of industrial waste or byproducts generated or managed in Ohio.
The data will be used to inform beneficial use programs that the Ohio EPA may implement. To report your company's beneficial use information, please complete and return this form to Rob Brundrett, who staffs the OMA Environment Committee.
This week Ohio EPA visited with food manufacturers as part of an OMA roundtable for Ohio's large and growing food manufacturing industry. Deputy Director Laurie Stevenson briefed the participants about how to work with the agency to resolve permitting issues. Assistant Director Laura Factor shared information regarding water regulations, which have major impacts on food manufacturing processes. To comment on the regulations, contact OMA's Rob Brundrett.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released a study this week conducted by NERA Economic Consulting that shows a carbon tax would have a devastating impact on manufacturing and jobs.
The report, titled Economic Outcomes of a U.S. Carbon Tax, found that levying such a tax would impact millions of jobs and result in higher prices for natural gas, electricity, gasoline and other energy commodities. Nationally, manufacturing output in energy-intensive sectors could drop by as much as 15.0 percent and in non-energy-intensive sectors by as much as 7.7 percent.
This week at the OMA Environment Committee, OMA Connections Partner, Environ International, presented the new federal Boiler MACT rules.
U.S. EPA released these rules late last December. The changes will have a wide and varying impact on manufacturing. If your company needs compliance assistance, contact OMA's Rob Brundrett for resources.
Ohio EPA Director, Scott Nally
|When Ohio EPA Director, Scott Nally, sat down this week with the OMA Environment Committee, chaired by Joe Bulzan, Environmental Manager, RockTenn, he spoke to a range of topics of interest to manufacturers: universal waste, solid waste, permitting and his operating budget.
Director Nally specifically invited committee members to submit language or concepts for beneficial use rules the agency is currently drafting. To contribute your thinking on beneficial use, contact OMA's Rob Brundrett.
Sunshine Scherer, GOJO
|Ohio EPA Director, Scott Nally, recognized GOJO Industries for its efforts in sustainability at the OMA Environment Committee meeting this week.
GOJO is one of the first companies in Ohio to receive Ohio EPA's Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) award. The E3 award recognizes companies that reduce waste, improve efficiency, and continuously improve as environmental stewards.
Sunshine Scherer, GOJO's environmental manager, and Toni Stutler, environmental specialist, were on hand to talk about the company's sustainability program.
Companies can learn more about the E3 program on Ohio EPA’s website.
On May 21-22, Ohio EPA is hosting its 7th Compliance Assistance Conference in Columbus. The event offers valuable information and contacts to help employers with environmental compliance responsibilities.
A large part of the conference is targeted to businesses that need to know the basics of environmental compliance. However, this year's expanded agenda includes advanced topics, such as Title V permits and reporting. For specific technical questions, Ohio EPA staff will be available at an “Ask the Experts” session.
On Wednesday Representative Tina Roegner (R-Hudson) gave sponsor testimony on House Bill 12 (see also, bill analysis). The proposal would modernize Ohio’s boiler operator standards, which date back to 1911.
The bill exempts certain boilers that satisfy recognized safety and engineering standards from the requirement that they be operated by a licensed boiler operator, or under the direct supervision of a licensed boiler operator.
OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler LLP, reports that on February 8, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio issued its decision in Hobart Corporation v. Waste Management of Ohio, Inc., holding that a CERCLA 107 cost recovery action is not available if plaintiffs had a CERCLA 113 contribution action.
CERCLA refers to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund.
The Ohio federal court followed the emerging line of appellate court decisions in this area. The dichotomy and interrelationship between a CERCLA contribution claim and cost recovery claim has been the subject of considerable debate and litigation for the past five years.
In a letter to Ohio EPA this week, OMA proposed an expansion of universal wastes to include paint and paint-related waste. OMA also proposed that Ohio’s universal waste program would benefit by including a mechanism to petition Ohio EPA to designate a hazardous waste as a universal waste if such waste has been designated a universal waste by U.S. EPA or any other state.
Other states have already expanded their universal waste programs to take advantage of ways to promote recycling and decrease the costs associated with managing hazardous wastes.
To comment on this proposal, please contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett, who leads environmental policy. Also, register to attend the OMA Environment Committee on Wednesday, February 27 by phone or in person.
The Ohio EPA is seeking stakeholder input to help decide if additional hazardous wastes should be added to Ohio’s list of universal wastes. Ohio EPA has prepared this fact sheet regarding this outreach.
To comment or participate, please contact OMA's Rob Brundrett. Comments to Ohio EPA are due by February 8.
OMA Connections Partner, Taft, reports New Clean Air Act standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.), including soot, were recently announced by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA reduced the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for PM2.5 from 15.0 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) to 12.0 µg/m3. EPA’s action came in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision which required EPA to clarify how the PM2.5 standard affords necessary protection from short- and long-term exposures to soot, placing emphasis on protecting at-risk populations like children.