News and Analysis
Late last week, two freshman legislators Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) and Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) introduced House Bill 497. The bill would require Ohio to set its own drinking water standard for per and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals — more commonly known as PFAS.
This group of chemicals has been manufactured since the 1940s for use in a variety of industries around the globe and in a wide range of products — from firefighting foam to stain-resistant carpets. PFAS are ubiquitous in the environment, and there is much debate and disputed science surrounding the potential effects of these chemicals.
Recently, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Health to implement an action plan for the testing of more than 1,500 public water supplies. Instead of creating an Ohio standard, the state has shown deference to U.S. EPA in setting a national maximum containment level for PFAS. The OMA has been heavily engaged in this issue. Members interested in learning more should contact Rob Brundrett. 2/13/2020
The Ohio EPA reports that seats for the agency’s annual Compliance Assistance Conference, set for March 31 – April 1, are nearly sold out. The event, to be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, will provide information and contacts to help businesses comply with state and federal environmental standards. Among the presenters will be U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. 2/13/2020
To keep members updated in the area of environmental regulation, the OMA Environment Committee will hold its first meeting of 2020 at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, in Columbus. Guest presenter will be Anne Vogel, who helps oversee energy and environmental issues for the DeWine administration. Register to participate in person or by phone. 2/6/2020
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission has released its draft Lake Erie Protection and Restoration Plan 2020 (LEPR) for public comment. According to Ohio EPA, the LEPR, last published in 2016, “reflects actions that the Ohio Lake Erie Commission and its member agencies will take over the next several years to protect, preserve, and restore our Great Lake.”
The Ohio Stormwater Association, in collaboration with Ohio EPA, is offering a free webinar to manufacturers who want to learn more about the permitting process for the agency’s stormwater program. Set for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, this one-hour event will feature best practices and tips on how to comply. 2/4/2020
Ohio EPA’s winter newsletter reports that registration is open for the agency’s annual Compliance Assistance Conference, set for March 31 – April 1, 2020 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The conference provides information and contacts to help your company comply with state and federal environmental standards. Among the event’s presenters will be recently appointed U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. 1/27/2020
State officials have announced the release of an update to the Ohio Domestic Action Plan aimed at reducing phosphorus in Lake Erie under the bi-national Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. It’s the first such iteration of the plan since Gov. DeWine’s H2Ohio program was enacted. The plan focuses on four aspects:
- Establishing science-based priorities for agricultural management practices and state programs to support H2Ohio efforts to encourage farmers to implement science-based best practices;
- The importance of wetland restoration and outlining ODNR efforts to create, restore, and enhance wetlands for nutrient reduction as part of H2Ohio;
- Updated actions for communities, including H2Ohio support for home sewage treatment system remediation;
- Integrating the role of watershed planning at the local level for siting projects to reduce nutrients efficiently, including a distribution of the load reduction throughout the Maumee River watershed based on the Ohio EPA Nutrient Mass Balance method.
Previous versions of the plan required Ohio EPA to pursue legislation that would require all treatment works discharging wastewater containing phosphorus to achieve at least a monthly average effluent concentration of 1 mg/L phosphorus. The OMA and its nutrient water working group has worked tirelessly with Ohio EPA and others to ensure manufacturing is not disproportionately harmed by any new regulations on nutrients. Public comments can be emailed by March 2, 2020. 1/30/2020
One of the OMA’s top policy goals is to ensure science-based, technologically achievable, and economically reasonable environmental regulations.
To keep members updated in this area, the OMA Environment Committee will hold its first meeting of 2020 at 10 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 12, in Columbus. Special guest presenter will be Anne Vogel, the DeWine administration’s assistant policy director for energy and environmental issues. Register to participate in person or by phone. 1/20/2020
This week, the OMA submitted comments supporting Ohio EPA’s proposed amendments to merge the Industrial Waste Program and Residual Waste Programs, whereby non-hazardous, non-municipal waste streams will be called “industrial or manufacturing waste” or IMW. This change will result in the establishment of just two landfill classifications instead of the current four.
The OMA commented that it believes the approach to these updated classifications will allow for a more streamlined approach. We will continue to monitor the rule package for noteworthy changes. 1/23/2020
In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts year-over-year decreases in energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through 2021. After declining by 2.1% in 2019, energy-related CO2 emissions are expected to decrease by 2.0% in 2020, and again by 1.5% in 2021. 1/21/2020