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ESG Goes Under Capitol Hill Microscope

November 10, 2023

On Capitol Hill, House Republicans this week held a hearing on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, hearing from witnesses who argue ESG-focused investments pose risks to retirement funds while straining small businesses.

Read the opening statement from the chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and watch the Nov. 7 hearing.

As reported by D.C. media, GOP lawmakers are particularly concerned about a recent U.S. Department of Labor rule allowing retirement fiduciaries to consider ESG factors when selecting investments and exercising shareholder rights. 11/7/2023

OMA Updated on Environmental Regulatory Activity

November 3, 2023

This week, the OMA Environment Committee held its final scheduled meeting of 2023, sponsored by OMA Connections Partners Squire Patton Boggs and Thompson Hine. Highlights included the following:

  • Bob Hodanbosi, Ohio EPA’s longtime air pollution control chief, provided an update on the non-attainment status of the Cleveland and Cincinnati areas under the U.S. EPA ozone standard. He noted that if ozone levels are not reduced, increased regulatory action could have “serious consequences” for industry in both areas.
  • Brandon Farris, vice president of environmental policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, discussed the U.S. EPA’s proposed PM2.5 rule, which would impose stricter air standards on particulate matter, resulting in a “freeze of growth” for U.S. manufacturers. The OMA has been actively engaged in opposition. (OMA members can express their opposition via the NAM’s website.)
  • Bill Petruzzi, senior consultant for Verdantas, briefed members on how manufacturers can take advantage of the Ohio EPA’s regulatory expansion allowing additional waste materials to be eligible for beneficial use authorization.

Members should watch for the 2024 schedule of OMA policy committee meetings to be announced in December. 11/1/2023

Discrepancy in U.S. EPA’s PFAS Reporting Rules

November 3, 2023

The U.S. EPA is proposing two new rules with the potential for major impacts to industry members that interact with PFAS, according to Vorys, an OMA Connections Partner.

In this insight, the firm writes: “Read together, these rules also indicate a discrepancy in the EPA’s position on how to manage the compliance burden PFAS reporting requirements can create for small businesses.” 11/2/2023

Ohio EPA Air Pollution Chief to Present to OMA

October 27, 2023

There’s still time for members to register for the OMA Environment Committee’s Nov. 1 meeting. It will feature updates from Bob Hodanbosi, Ohio EPA’s air pollution control chief, and other experts who will address federal and state regulatory activity. Register here. 10/25/2023

Akron Designated as Tech Hub for Sustainable Polymers

October 27, 2023

According to reports, the Biden administration has named several regions spanning 32 states as technology hubs, a move aimed at spurring private investment and job creation. Ohio, specifically the Akron region, was named as a tech hub for sustainable plastics and rubbers. 10/23/2023

SCOTUS Urged to Block EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor Plan’

October 20, 2023

Ohio, West Virginia, and Indiana are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to block implementation of the Biden administration’s so-called “Good Neighbor Plan” — which would expand federal regulation of interstate air emissions as they affect national ambient air quality standards.

The states say the U.S. EPA has exceeded its authority by over-ruling the air quality plans of individual states. Read this story and plan to attend the Nov. 1 meeting of the OMA’s Environment Committee for more details. 10/17/2023

Analysis: PFAS Reporting Rule

October 20, 2023

OMA Connections Partner Calfee has published this analysis of the U.S. EPA’s final rule aimed at gathering information on products containing PFAS chemicals. The rule applies to any company that, at any time since 2011, manufactured or imported any PFAS chemical. Companies should soon move forward with developing a compliance strategy for the rule, according to Calfee. 10/18/2023

EU Climate Rule to Hit U.S. Businesses

October 20, 2023

Starting as soon as January, major U.S. companies that raise money on European stock exchanges will be forced to start compiling information on their “carbon emissions, climate risks, and strategies to counter the damage,” according to Politico. By 2025, an estimated 3,000 U.S. businesses will be required to provide such disclosures. 10/18/2023

On-Demand Webinar: Changes to Risk Management Program for Hazardous Chemicals

October 13, 2023

Proposed changes to the U.S. EPA’s Risk Management Program stand to impact manufacturers that work with hazardous substances. OMA Connections Partner BSI this week presented a one-hour webinar to examine the pending changes, including those that would address natural hazards and power loss.

The on-demand webinar may be viewed here. Also, check out the slides from BSI’s presentation. 10/12/2023

Analysis: Latest WOTUS Rule ‘Favorable’ for Many

October 13, 2023

There will be some regulatory confusion regarding the definition of “waters of the United States” under the federal Clean Water Act, writes OMA Connections Partner Roetzel. This is due to a two-tiered regulatory approach, which results from the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Sackett decision.

The firm notes that the conforming WOTUS rule — published last month by the U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers — will likely mean many more waterbodies aren’t subject to federal jurisdiction. 10/9/2023