News and Analysis
Launched by Gov. Mike DeWine in November 2019, H2Ohio is a comprehensive water quality plan to reduce harmful algal blooms, improve wastewater infrastructure, and address lead contamination. The initiative was funded with $172 million from the General Assembly over the current biennium. 12/22/2020
With promises of an ambitious climate agenda, President-elect Joe Biden is expected to select North Carolina’s top environment official Michael Regan to lead the EPA, according to D.C. news media. Regan has served as secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality since January 2017. Previously, he worked at the Environmental Defense Fund.
Meanwhile, Biden has confirmed he will nominate former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for Energy secretary; Brenda Mallory for chair of the Council on Environmental Quality; former EPA chief Gina McCarthy as national climate adviser; and Ali Zaidi, as deputy national climate adviser. According to Politico, “the roster has environmentalists and climate change activists feeling optimistic,” with one environmental leader calling it “the climate and overall environmental dream team.” 12/18/2020
The Ohio EPA reminds businesses of its available recycling grants, as well as its Jan. 7 webinar to provide grant application assistance. Grant applications are due 3 p.m. on Feb. 5. Learn more. 12/17/2020
On Dec. 9, the Trump administration finalized a rule changing how incoming administrations evaluate their air regulations by improving how the U.S. EPA conducts its cost-benefit analysis. According to reports from D.C. media, the rule will apply to new regulations proposed under the Clean Air Act, which President-elect Joe Biden is expected to utilize frequently to meet his climate change goals.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) applauded the rule, saying it “will have an immediate positive impact on our country.” NAM has previously stated that “reforming the way the EPA performs cost-benefit analysis is likely to have a greater positive impact on the future of manufacturing than any single EPA regulatory action.”
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, an Ohio native, announced the rule by saying the public “deserves to know the benefits and costs of federal regulations.” (It’s estimated that EPA regulations make up almost 70% of the costs of federal rules, with the Clean Air Act being the costliest.) 12/9/2020
As expected, the Cincinnati and Cleveland non-attainment areas did not meet the ozone standard by the end of the 2020 ozone season. In addition, neither area qualified for the one-year extension. In anticipation of a “bump-up” to moderate non-attainment, Ohio EPA is considering possible rulemaking to address both mandatory requirements and potential additional measures that may be determined necessary to meet the standard and avoid further “bump-ups.”
The agency is planning to initiate early stakeholder outreach soon to update VOC RACT and NOx RACT rules. Contact Rob Brundrett for more information. 12/3/2020
Last month, in sponsor testimony on House Bill 772, Rep. Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) highlighted some eye-opening data from Ohio EPA. According to the agency, Ohio’s electric generating plants have reduced CO2 emissions for all fuel types by 47% since 2005, equating to more than 64 million tons of CO2 removed over 14 years.
Romanchuk told his fellow lawmakers: “(T)his reduction occurred not because of any decision made by (the General Assembly) or any other Ohio official, but by technology and the market.” He added that HB 6 advocates used faulty logic when arguing that nuclear subsidies were needed to reduce CO2 emissions. 12/2/2020
The U.S. EPA has recommended requiring many manufacturing sites, wastewater plants, and other facilities to monitor wastewater for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), used by various industrial sectors to manufacture numerous products. Meanwhile, the U.S. EPA under a future Biden administration is expected to quickly move to set PFAS regulations, according to an analysis published by Bloomberg Law.
At the state level, the Ohio House Commerce and Labor Committee advanced House Bill 328 this week. The bill prohibits the use of Class B firefighting foam containing intentionally added PFAS chemicals for testing purposes (unless certain measures are implemented) and training purposes.
The OMA has created a working group to address PFAS-related issues and possible impacts to manufacturers. If you would like to learn more or participate, contact the OMA’s Rob Brundrett. 12/3/2020
At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, Ohio EPA will conduct a virtual public hearing on proposed new rules to merge the industrial waste program and the residual waste program. Comments on the proposed rules may be presented at the hearing or submitted by email, but those who want to participate must pre-register. The OMA submitted these comments in support of the rules. Learn more here. 12/2/2020
The tumultuous presidential election is working its way to a close. While vote counting and litigation continue, OMA Connections Partner Squire Patton Boggs has published this analysis of what a Biden administration could mean for federal environmental policy.
The document examines how President-elect Joe Biden is likely to approach greenhouse gas regulations, the Trump Administration’s executive orders and regulatory reductions, and implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Clean Air Act. 11/23/2020
After rising 3% in 2018, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell 3% in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency attributes nearly all (96%) of this decline to the changing mix of fuels used to generate electricity. Since 2007, U.S. electric power sector emissions have declined 33%. 11/16/2020