News and Analysis
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. The main objectives of the rule-making are to update the generator regulations, provide flexibility in hazardous waste management, and close regulatory gaps. On Aug. 21, the Ohio EPA will host a webinar for manufacturers and others to learn about where this regulatory change is in the Ohio rule-making procedure and how the new provisions apply to generators. 8/15/2019
This is a reminder that the OMA has partnered with the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson to host a manufacturers meeting with senior management of U.S. EPA Region V and Ohio EPA. The meeting — set for Oct. 10 at the U.S. EPA offices in Chicago — will feature updates on all major program areas, followed by a Q&A session. All OMA manufacturing members are welcome, but due to security and limited seating, you need to reserve your spot early. Please contact the OMA’s Rob Brundrett to save your spot. You must RSVP to be admitted. 8/8/2019
In early 2019, Toledo’s voters passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) — an amendment to the city charter that declares Lake Erie and its watershed have enforceable legal rights to “exist, flourish and naturally evolve.” It prohibits any corporation (defined to include any business) or government from violating these rights, and it allows the city or any resident of the city to sue in state court to enforce these rights and prohibition.
The LEBOR initiative is similar to other community proposals seeking to establish legally enforceable rights for natural resources. Many corporations or entities could be impacted by the LEBOR’s enactment — especially businesses that have an Ohio EPA-issued water discharge permit authorizing them to conduct operations within the Lake Erie watershed.
The OMA was able to help secure an amendment in the recently enacted state budget to declare that “nature or any ecosystem does not have standing to participate or bring an action in any court.” The amendment also prohibits any person on behalf of nature or an ecosystem from bringing an action in court. The inclusion of this language in the final budget is a big win, especially for any permit-holding manufacturer in the Lake Erie basin. 8/1/2019
As reported last week, the OMA recently submitted comments in response to Ohio EPA’s Early Stakeholder Outreach on the agency’s five-year rule review of air pollution regulations. The OMA also teamed up with some business allies to ensure the agency was aware of the broad-based support for specific suggestions to the current regulations. The OMA will continue to work with Ohio EPA as changes to the rules are developed. 8/1/2019
The State of Ohio’s new main operating budget (House Bill 166) — passed and signed last week — created a $172 million “H2Ohio fund,” aimed at protecting Lake Erie, other state waterways, and community water projects. The fund is a priority of Gov. Mike DeWine, whose administration has begun to form a strategy on how best to administer the dollars, while promising “more public discussions in the next few weeks.”
Approximately $46 million of the fund will be dedicated to wetland restoration to help to prevent nutrient run-off that contributes to algal blooms. The budget requires the Lake Erie Commission to coordinate with state agencies and boards to submit an annual report to the governor and legislature on H2Ohio spending during the prior fiscal year.
Learn more at the administration’s H2Ohio website. 7/24/2019
Again this year, the OMA has partnered with the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson to host a manufacturers’ meeting with senior management of U.S. EPA Region V and Ohio EPA. The meeting — set for Thursday, Oct. 10, at the U.S. EPA offices in Chicago — will feature updates on all major program areas, followed by a Q&A session.
Attendees of last year’s meeting found it valuable in terms of learning more about EPA policies and practices, while building relationships with agency management and staff. All OMA manufacturing members are welcome; however, due to security and limited seating, you need to reserve your spot early. Please contact the OMA’s Rob Brundrett to save your spot. Only those who RSVP can be admitted. 7/24/2019
Late last week, the OMA submitted comments in response to the Ohio EPA’s air pollution rules. The comments were made as part of the agency’s Early Stakeholder Outreach program.
The OMA used the opportunity to share its concern over ambiguity in the current air pollution rules, and suggested the need for more clarity — specifically regarding the attainment and maintenance of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Because of the significant impact that air pollution regulations can have on manufacturers, the OMA requested that the association “be included in any work groups or future discussions on amendments to these rules.” 7/23/2019
On March 12, 2018, the State of New York filed a petition under Section 126 of the federal Clean Air Act naming approximately 350 sources of nitrogen oxides emissions in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia as contributing to violations of the ozone air quality standards in New York. On May 20, 2019, U.S. EPA proposed to deny the petition. The OMA filed comments at U.S. EPA supporting the denial of the petition. 7/17/2019
On July 10, 2019, Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water hosted a webinar introducing the enhanced two-pronged approach to surveying and monitoring aquatic life in Ohio’s streams and rivers. A recording of the webinar and the presentation are now available on the agency’s website. Comments and questions regarding this approach are being accepted by the Ohio EPA through Aug. 12, 2019. For more details, contact the OMA’s Rob Brundrett. 7/18/2019
OMA Connections Partner Dinsmore has published its analysis regarding the uncertainty surrounding “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the federal Clean Water Act. The issue became a key topic of concern for manufacturers when the Obama administration issued its overreaching WOTUS rule in 2015. In 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order instructing EPA to rescind the Obama-era rule, which was also contested legally.
Dinsmore says the EPA’s current administrator, Andrew Wheeler — an Ohio native — has said the new WOTUS definition proposed last February is “focused on providing regulatory certainty and clarity that every American can understand.” But the EPA’s new definition, which is scheduled to be published as a final rule in December 2019, is widely expected to face significant legal challenges. 7/10/2019