News and Analysis
This week the OMA sent a letter to Ohio EPA regarding the agency’s “General Permit Authorization for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction Activity from Oil and Gas Linear Transmission Line and Gathering Line Installation.” The OMA has serious questions about whether Ohio EPA has the legal authority to promulgate the permit.
OMA wrote: “… the OMA is concerned with the precedential effect that promulgation of this Permit may have in Ohio. Specifically, the OMA is concerned with other industries and/or activities that Ohio EPA may next attempt to regulate, under the same questionable legal authority as it now uses to issue this “non-NPDES” stormwater permit.” 6/28/2018
With more than 100 other organizations, OMA signed a letter to the Office of Management and Budget on how EPA performs cost-benefit analysis.
The groups wrote: “We believe the time has come for EPA to reexamine its statutory interpretations, and unless prohibited by statute, implement its regulatory statutes through cost-benefit balancing.”
The goal of the communication is to advance broad regulatory reforms that move federal agencies toward transparent science, strong risk-assessment, and honest cost-benefit considerations. 6/26/2018
Ohio EPA announced its Early Stakeholder Outreach for Hazardous Waste Management E-manifest and Export/Import Rules. Comments are due by June 25.
Ohio’s hazardous waste rules generally must be consistent with their federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) counterpart regulations in 40 CFR Parts 260 to 279 unless otherwise allowed by law.
A number of Ohio rules need to be amended to address changes to their federal RCRA counterpart provisions. Contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett if you would like to comment. 6/7/2018
This week the Ohio Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 299, legislation designed to help eliminate the toxic algae in Lake Erie by providing funding for increased lab and research space, lake monitoring, reduction of open lake disposal of dredged materials, soil and water conversation districts and nutrient management plants.
The OMA supports the effort and previously submitted proponent testimony. The bill now moves to the House for consideration. 6/7/2018
This week manufacturers gathered at the OMA to attend an Environment Committee meeting, which included networking plus lunch on the OMA.
The committee’s agenda included an update on possible phosphorus legislation and discussion with Ohio EPA regarding permit process improvements.
Ohio Air Chief Bob Hodanbosi presented his popular annual Ohio air update for the members.
State Rep. Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton) came by to discuss what is going on in the General Assembly and to tell members about his recently introduced bill, House Bill 643, a plan to deal with Lake Erie algal blooms. 5/31/2018
Bob Hodanbosi & Erica Engel-Ishida, OH EPA Div. of Air Pollution Control, update OMA Environment Committee members.
The Ohio Materials Marketplace is a free online platform of the Ohio EPA that enables businesses and organizations to connect and find reuse and recycling solutions for waste and by-product materials.
- New materials have been added to the marketplace including: limestone screenings, industry safety fencing, water treatment residuals, and more.
- 739 members are now on the Marketplace.
- The Marketplace has helped divert about 1,696 tons (3,391,290 pounds) from the landfill.
Learn more here. 5/31/2018
This week the OMA testified in support of Senator Randy Gardner’s and Rep. Steve Arndt’s bipartisan Clean Lake 2020 bills. The companion bills, Senate Bill 299 and House Bill 643, which propose funding resources for Lake Erie water quality improvements, had their second hearings in the House and Senate Finance Committees.
The OMA testified to both committees that the proposal is “a thoughtful funding approach to address Lake Erie water quality issues. The bill takes a prudent approach in providing funding resources that will improve the lake’s water quality. Ohio manufacturers rely heavily on the lake for a variety of business-supporting reasons and it is imperative that the lake be in the best possible condition to support the portions of Ohio’s economy that rely on it.”
The bills are in stark contrast to Ohio EPA-sponsored bills that would put draconian limits on point source discharges.
Join the OMA Environment Committee on May 31; Rep. Arndt will be speaking to members about his bill and the state’s phosphorus issues. 5/24/2018
This week the OMA submitted formal comments to U.S. EPA regarding whether pollutant discharges from point sources that reach jurisdictional surface waters via groundwater, or other subsurface flow that has a direct hydrologic connection to jurisdictional surface waters, may be subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
In its comments the OMA requested that “U.S. EPA undertake a notice-and-comment rulemaking to clearly implement the Clean Water Act, which does not regulate nonpoint sources in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program.”
OMA wrote: “The resulting rule would provide regulatory certainty for the agency, states, dischargers, courts, and the public. The rulemaking should: (1) reject the “hydrologic connection theory”; (2) confirm that the “hydrologic connection theory” was not based on a thorough analysis of CWA; and (3) endorse a plain language interpretation of the statute.” 5/24/2018
With the Ohio EPA’s phosphorus bill still lacking a sponsor, Gov. John Kasich made waves this week discussing a potential executive order action to move forward on phosphorus regulation.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the governor is considering issuing an executive order if the General Assembly will not limit fertilizer use in parts of the state that heavily contribute to the phosphorus flow into Lake Erie.
As of now it looks like the governor is focused strictly on fertilizer and agriculture and not on industrial point source discharge. However, this is a new twist in the ongoing phosphorus saga that manufacturers will carefully watch as the governor’s final term nears its end. 5/17/2018
The bipartisan water bills targeting the phosphorus discharges in Lake Erie had their first hearing in their respective chambers this week. Senate Bill 299 and House Bill 643 each enjoyed sponsor testimony.
In the Senate, Senators Randy Gardner and Sean O’Brien each presented sponsor testimony (Gardner testimony and O’Brien testimony). The House heard sponsor testimony from Reps. Steve and John Patterson.
The bills are heavily based on a white paper entitled, “Summary of Findings and Strategies to Move Toward a 40% Phosphorous Reduction” from 2017. The bills are not regulatory bills but are instead targeted funding solution bills providing both general revenue funding and capital funding for a variety of strategies that scientists, Lake Erie advocates, agriculture leaders, and others believe can help achieve Ohio’s phosphorus reduction goals.
A reduction of phosphorus loading by 40% by 2025, and an aspirational goal of 20% by the year 2020, are the stated targets. 5/17/2018