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OMA Members Meet with EPA Officials in Chicago

November 22, 2019

The OMA, along with the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, this week hosted a manufacturers’ meeting at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region V headquarters in Chicago.

More than 45 industry members met with senior leaders from Region V and Ohio EPA. The meeting provided a valuable opportunity for OMA members to learn more about EPA policies and practices, while building relationships with agency officials. 11/20/2019

OMA Supports Container Bill

November 15, 2019

This week, the OMA provided proponent testimony on Senate Bill 222. The bill would allow the state to pre-empt local government ordinances on packaging and auxiliary containers.

In its testimony, the OMA made the case for manufacturers of these products, stating: “When local jurisdictions in our state enact restrictions or outright bans on certain products or product content; or impose mandates to label certain products; or place a tax on certain products, it makes it very difficult for Ohio manufacturers to comply here at home, much less in the global economy.”

The bill is expected to have at least two more hearings in the Senate committee. 11/14/2019

Gov. DeWine Announces H2Ohio Water Quality Plan

November 15, 2019

Gov. Mike DeWine has presented specific details regarding his H2Ohio initiative, aimed at reducing harmful algal blooms, improving wastewater infrastructure, and preventing lead contamination. In a speech at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, the governor said the plan would address “the causes of Ohio’s water problems, not just the symptoms.”

Earlier this year, as part of the state budget (HB 166), lawmakers dedicated $172 million over two years for H2Ohio’s efforts. The governor’s press release says H2Ohio “will invest substantially to help farmers reduce phosphorus runoff from commercial fertilizer and manure to prevent harmful algal blooms” — focusing initially on reducing runoff into the Maumee River Watershed and Lake Erie. 11/14/2019

Ohio’s Mineral Resources Yielded $1.5B Worth of Commodities in 2018

November 15, 2019

Ohio’s mineral resources produced more than $1.5 billion worth of geologic commodities last year. That’s according to a new report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 11/12/2019

Online Platform that Helps Businesses Recycle Adds More Materials

November 8, 2019

There have been recent additions to the Ohio EPA’s Materials Marketplace — a free online tool that allows participating companies to easily post available or wanted materials, identify reuse opportunities, and exchange underutilized materials. Several new materials have been added, including post-consumer polyester fiber fill from pillows, black and green mum pots, and bags of oxalic acid. Meanwhile, there’s a big demand for used wood pallets. 11/5/2019

OSU Study: Nature may be Cheaper, More Effective at Reducing Emissions

November 8, 2019

The Ohio State University reports on OSU research showing that adding plants and trees to the landscapes near factories and other sources of emissions could reduce air pollution by an average of 27%. The study shows that plants — not technologies — may be a cheaper option for cleaning the air near industrial sites. 11/7/2019

Federal Standards for Auto Emissions Divide States

November 8, 2019

Recently, California — joined by 21 other states — turned to the courts to contest final regulations issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agencies have ruled that federal law pre-empts state and local tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions standards, as well as zero emission vehicle mandates.

The lawsuit raises several issues, including whether federal agencies have authority to pre-empt state vehicle emissions standards. Read the analysis by OMA Connections Partner Jones Day regarding what appears to be a long, intense legal battle. 11/4/2019

Tax Foundation Examines Carbon Tax Proposal

November 8, 2019

With some federal lawmakers expressing support for a carbon tax, the Tax Foundation has produced a study to examine the possible impacts of such a policy. The Foundation notes that the economic impact of a carbon tax would vary significantly based on how the generated tax revenues were used. Overall, the think tank estimates that a $50 carbon tax implemented in 2020 — growing at 5% each year — would raise $1.87 trillion in additional federal revenue, while reducing GDP by 0.4% and full-time equivalent employment by 447,000 jobs. 11/6/2019

Ohio EPA Resources and Reminders

November 8, 2019

Over the past few months, the Ohio EPA has recorded several helpful webinars, including the following: “Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule,” “How to Activate and Enter a Report in Ohio EPA’s Electronic Discharge Monitoring Reporting eDMR System,” and “Overview of Air Services Webinar.”

Also, some key comment periods will end soon, including:

If you have any questions on any of these issues, contact the OMA’s Rob Brundrett. 11/7/2019

Senate Hears Testimony on Auxiliary Container Bill

November 8, 2019

This week, State Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) provided sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 222 — a companion to House Bill 242. The legislation would “authorize a person to use an auxiliary container for any purpose and prohibit a municipal corporation, charter counties, or limited homerule townships from imposing a tax or fee on auxiliary containers.” At the same time, it would clarify that the existing anti-littering law applies to auxiliary containers.

The legislation defines an auxiliary container as any of the following: paper or plastic bag, can, cup, food service item, container, keg, bottle, or other packaging item designed for consuming, transporting, or protecting merchandise, food, or beverages.

Both SB 222 and HB 242 come after Cuyahoga County banned most large retailers from distributing single-use plastic bags. Bexley near Columbus and Orange Village near Cleveland have passed their own plastic-bag bans, while cities like Cincinnati have explored taxing them to discourage their use. The OMA supports both bills. When local jurisdictions enact restrictions or outright bans on certain products or product content — or impose mandates to label certain products, or place a tax on certain products — it makes it extremely costly and difficult for Ohio manufacturers to comply. 11/7/2019