News and Analysis
Last week Ohio EPA gave notice that it is submitting the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for Ohio to the U.S. EPA regarding the 2015 Ozone Standard, and the agency is seeking public comment on the SIP.
Seeking public comment will satisfy the U.S. EPA requirement for public involvement in SIP-related activities.
Comments should address the requirements of Section 110(a)(2)(A) to Section 110(a)(2)(M) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). These sections document how the National Ambient Air Quality Standards are being implemented, maintained, and enforced by the State of Ohio.
The elements of the SIP, once approved by U.S. EPA, will provide a federally enforceable written confirmation of how the State of Ohio will comply with the Section 110(a)(2) requirements of the CAA.
Comments are due on or before September 18, 2018. Email Holly Kaloz, or mail her at Ohio EPA, DAPC, PO Box 1049 Columbus, OH 43215-1045.
A public hearing on this Infrastructure SIP may be requested by emailing Holly Kaloz or calling (614) 644-3632 no later than September 18, 2018.
If a public hearing is requested, a new notification will be published to identify the time and location of the public hearing. Please contact Rob Brundrett at the OMA with questions or comments. 8/23/2018
This week the House and Senate appointed 16 members and set the first meeting date for a new legislative task force on the health of Lake Erie.
The bipartisan task force, “Toward a Cleaner Lake Erie Working Group,” will be co-chaired by Sen. Bob Hackett (R-London) and Rep. Brian Hill (R-Zanesville), who currently chair the House and Senate agriculture committees.
The first meeting is set for 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28 in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. A follow up meeting in northwest Ohio is tentatively scheduled for some time in the fall.
The working group was created by the legislature in the aftermath of the governor’s executive order, issued this summer, which ran into problems with the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission. The General Assembly opposed the executive order when it was issued and has vowed to continue further study of the issue via the task force. 8/23/2018
This week the OMA submitted comments regarding Ohio EPA’s Interested Party Review for Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3745-2-12, which covers procedures for developing Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).
The OMA asked that the rule be modified to specifically ensure trade associations could protect members’ interests by requesting public hearings on TMDLs.
OMA wrote: “Under the proposed new OAC: 3745-2-12 (A)(3)(e), Ohio EPA shall provide a public hearing under certain enumerated circumstances, including if certain defined groups make the request. While the OMA appreciates the variety of groups allowed to make the request, we request that Ohio EPA specifically add “trade associations” to the list of groups eligible to be granted a hearing upon request. Under the rule as drafted, it is unclear whether the current terms would allow for the OMA or other like associations to be granted a public hearing upon submittal of a request to Ohio EPA.” 8/16/2018
Each year Ohio EPA recognizes Ohio organizations for exceptional achievements in environmental stewardship through the Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Program. Any organization can be recognized for its commitment to environmental excellence.
In preparation for the 2019 awards cycle, a free webinar is offered on September 19, 2018 titled “Encouraging Environmental Excellence: The 2019 Silver, Gold and Platinum Level Application Process.” The webinar will discuss how to apply for a 2019 E3 award.
The application deadline for the 2019 awards is December 14, 2018. 8/15/2018
The Ohio EPA’s Ohio Materials Marketplace is a free online platform that allows businesses and organizations to connect to find reuse and recycling solutions for waste and by-product materials.
The organization has recently published its one-year report, which claims that 3,362,000 pounds of material have been diverted from Ohio landfills as a result of the service. 8/9/2018
On Tuesday, Ohio EPA held a public hearing on its latest iteration of the Hazardous Waste Laundered Textile Exclusion rule proposal. The OMA was the only organization that attended to provide comments.
OMA’s Rob Brundrett, Director, Public Policy Services, said in his formal comments: “Placing more stringent requirements in Ohio versus neighboring states that already operate textile-exclusion policies has the potential of placing Ohio manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage or creating a system that does not conform with generally accepted environmentally safe practices. Consequently, the OMA reiterates its belief that Ohio should consider those rules already adopted by neighboring states,” and that “instead of creating and implementing an entirely novel regulatory scheme for textile exclusion, Ohio EPA should consider and adopt the approach taken by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.”
Ohio EPA will continue to prepare the rules and will be responding to the OMA comments. 8/1/2018
Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water issued a Notice of Interested Party Review for Pretreatment and Indirect Discharge Permit (IDP) Program rules in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC Chapters 3745-3 and 3745-36).
Currently, the Pretreatment and IDP rules overlap with one another quite significantly, and the IDP rules frequently cross-reference the Pretreatment rules. The proposed revisions expand the IDP rules so that all the applicable requirements are explicitly stated within that chapter (OAC 3745-36).
The bulk of the changes are more in the spirit of re-organization than they are imposing entirely new terms. There is one substantive change to note: Under the reorganized rules, non-significant categorical industrial users that do not fall under the jurisdiction of a publicly owned treatment works (POTW) operating their own pretreatment program (per OAC Chapter 3745-3) will now need to obtain an indirect discharge permit pursuant to OAC Chapter 3745-36.
Please see this comparison from OMA environmental counsel, Bricker & Eckler, which details the current versus proposed rules and this Ohio EPA document that helps illustrate the difference between the two rule chapters.
Comments to the rules are due August 10. Please contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett with questions or if you would like to comment. 8/2/2018
On October 30-31, Ohio EPA will host its 10th Compliance Assistance Conference at the Marriott Northwest in Dublin, Ohio.
The conference provides information and contacts to help organizations with environmental compliance responsibilities.
A large part of the conference is targeted to those who need to know the basics about environmental compliance. However, the agenda also includes advanced topics, such as Title V permits and reporting and a special four-hour Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) session.
There also will be a plenary panel session from EPA program chiefs who will share priorities and cover hot topics.
The complete conference agenda and registration information is available here. 7/18/2018
The order directs the Department of Agriculture to designate eight different Lake Erie watersheds in distress. Then new rules would be required to be in place prior to the 2020 crop year. Farmers operating in the designated areas would have to adopt management plans that minimize nutrient runoff.
There was great concern that the executive order would include a statewide phosphorus discharge limit for industrial dischargers. Due to OMA advocacy activity, particularly the OMA Environment Committee and its working group on phosphorus, those provisions were not included in the final order.
There is still a concern that commercial fertilizer manufacturers will be negatively impacted depending on what the nutrient management plans look like when they are established.
Thank you to the members who worked on this issue. 7/12/2018
This week Governor Kasich signed Senate Bill 299, the bill which was approved by the House and Senate to provide funding for Lake Erie and the battle against toxic algae blooms.
The bill includes $3.5 million to the Department of Agriculture for soil and water conservation districts and another $20 million in capital funding that has no specified purpose. Governor Kasich indicated at the signing that the dollars will be used in conjunction with his newly signed Executive Order targeting nutrient runoff into Lake Erie. 7/12/2018