News and Analysis
The OMA staff has an award, the Babington, that it presents to member volunteers who make an exceptional contribution on behalf of Ohio’s manufacturers. OMA director of Public Policy Services, Rob Brundrett, selected Joe Bulzan, Environmental Manager, WestRock, Coshocton, to receive this recognition during OMA’s board of directors meeting this week.
Joe has chaired the OMA environment committee since 2006, providing countless hours of volunteer service to lead the committee through many complex policy issues, including boiler MACT, Ohio air regulation, federal ozone rules, water nutrient issues and more.
Coincidentally, the OMA Babington award is named for Bill Babington, plant manager of the former Stone Container plant in Coshocton, now WestRock, for his selfless volunteerism on behalf of Ohio’s manufacturers through the OMA.
Joe will pass the committee chair gavel at the March 8, 2016 OMA environment committee meeting. All members can join the committee and participate in meetings in person and by phone, or simply monitor activity through email. Sign up at My OMA.
The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee continued its hearings on House Bill 349, which would require Ohio EPA to submit a state plan for federal Clean Power Plan compliance to the General Assembly before submitting it to the U.S. EPA.
The Buckeye Institute testified: “The bill rightly requires the General Assembly to approve a final state plan, which will enhance transparency and accountability in Ohio’s section 111(d) compliance process.”
Chairman Al Landis (R-Dover) indicated that it is his intent to have Ohio EPA testify on the bill. With the House concluding its business for the year this week, the bill will likely have its next hearing in the new year.
This week Ohio EPA and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) jointly held an informational kick-off meeting to discuss the state’s planning for federal Clean Power Plan (CPP) compliance. Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler led the discussion along with PUCO Commissioner Asim Haque.
Butler told stakeholders that Ohio will submit an application for an extension to develop its state implementation plan.
There will be at least five regional hearings in the early part of 2016 to allow stakeholders to weigh in on the issue. Ohio EPA and the PUCO provided this document of implementation issues to consider.
This week Ohio EPA and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) announced an informational session on December 2, 2015 for interested parties on the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Ohio EPA and the PUCO will explain Clean Power Plan requirements, Ohio’s plan to engage interested parties, and answer any initial questions.
Five additional regional listening sessions will be held in 2016. These sessions are designed to provide the public an opportunity to submit verbal and/or written testimony.
This week Reps. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Tim Ginter (R-Salem) provided sponsor testimony for House Bill 349. The bill proposes that no state implementation plan concerning the Clean Power Plan (CPP) can be submitted to the U.S. EPA without the express approval of the Ohio General Assembly.
This is highly atypical as current state implementation plans need no approval from the legislature.
If the General Assembly does not approve the Ohio EPA state implementation plan, Ohio would most likely be regulated by a federal implementation plan.
If you would like more information on the CPP and Ohio’s response, please contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett.
Like many states, Ohio is pursuing legal options to combat the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has filed a legal challenge to the entirety of the plan.
Meanwhile, Ohio EPA is considering how it will respond to Ohio’s CPP state implementation plan. The agency will engage in statewide stakeholder outreach, which will likely include regional meetings. Ohio is almost certain to request an extension of time to submit its state plan. The agency will use the extra time to coordinate plans with surrounding states and stakeholders. That extension request is due September 2016.
We will continue to update the membership as the stakeholder process ramps up in Ohio so that manufacturers’ concerns are on record.
Last week OMA members invaded Chicago for the Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference to hear from U.S. EPA Region V and Midwest state environmental regulators regarding the most important environmental issues facing manufacturers.
Numerous OMA member companies were among the presenters on issues ranging from water quality to the Clean Power Plan to Title V permits.
If you missed the conference this year, make plans now to join your fellow manufacturers in Chicago next October 27-28.
Panelists at this week’s OMA Environment Committee agreed: The Clean Power Plan is a “massive federal overreach.”
Discussing the plan with committee members were Asim Z. Haque, Commissioner, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio; Fred Nelson, Senior Advisor and Director of Major Litigation, Ohio Attorney General Office; Adam Ward, Assistant Chief, Ohio EPA, Air Pollution Control; and (by phone) Ross Eisenberg, Vice President, Energy and Resources Policy, National Association of Manufacturers.
The Ohio speakers discussed the two-track approach that the state is taking. One, challenge the legality of the plan in court. Two, study compliance options to determine the approach that will provide Ohioans with reliable and cost-effective power.
NAM’s Eisenberg noted that the next American president will be able to have a tremendous impact on this rule. A reminder of the importance of voting.
Panelists also suggested manufacturers begin to “think beyond business as usual” and develop plans for protecting themselves from the worst possible effects of the plan, should it withstand legal challenge.
The final rule will be filed today. Lawsuits will begin immediately.
Ohio EPA will host an informational meeting on the 2016 Recycling & Litter Prevention Grant application process on Thursday, October 29 at 10:00 a.m. at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 2045 Morse Road, Columbus, OH 43229, Assembly Center (Building E). There is no registration required; however, those attending are required to bring a photo ID. In addition, an informational webinar will be held on November 18, 2015 (please see more here).
Competitive grants provide opportunities for communities, local governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations to establish and implement recycling, market development, litter prevention and scrap tire recycling programs.
Grant applications for all programs are due February 1, 2016. Grant awards will be announced in April 2016, with funding available in July 2016. Additional information can be found here or by contacting Chet Chaney, Environmental Supervisor, Ohio EPA at (614) 728-0043 or Marie Barnett, Grants Administrator, Ohio EPA at (614) 705-1019.
The OMA Environment Committee meeting on Thursday, October 22 has a number of hot topics on its agenda, including:
- Updates on the newly established U.S. EPA ground-level ozone 70 ppb regulation
- A case study presentation from Honda about its sustainability efforts, recently recognized by Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) program at the Gold level
- And, these experts will discuss the state of the federal Clean Power Plan and Ohio’s potential plan:
- Commissioner Asim Z. Haque, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
- Fred Nelson, Senior Advisor to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
- Adam Ward, Assistant Chief, Ohio EPA, Air Pollution Control
- A representative from the National Association of Manufacturers
The committee meets from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the OMA offices (with lunch provided by OMA), and a call-in option is available at: 866-362-9768, 552-970-8972#.