News and Analysis
On the heels of Cuyahoga County’s action to prohibit the use of plastic shopping bags — as well as the Columbus suburb of Bexley outlawing plastic bags, straws, and cutlery — the Ohio House this week heard sponsor testimony on House Bill 242.
The OMA and other business groups have been supporters of this legislation in the past. 5/30/2019
In the latest issue of its “Climate Report,” global law firm Jones Day analyzes the Green New Deal proposed by some federal lawmakers. According to the firm, the resolution — which calls for “high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages” and “wage and benefit parity for workers affected by the transition” — signifies a “new phase in the national debate over climate change policy in America.”
Specifically, the Green New Deal poses the question “whether Congress should curtail fossil fuel use … through a broad array of social and economic reforms and public works projects.” Jones Day adds: “The potential impact of the ensuing debate will vary from company to company but, in almost all cases, warrants serious attention in business, political, and legal planning efforts.”
The full report can be seen here. 5/15/2019
The House this week introduced House Bill 7 as part of a priority bill package with bipartisan support. HB 7 creates the H2Ohio Trust Fund to provide for the protection, preservation, and restoration of the water quality of Ohio’s lakes and rivers. Gov. Mike DeWine included in his budget the creation of H2Ohio, and the program is one of his top priorities.
The House reduced the funding provisions suggested by the administration and instead is creating a bond package to ensure long-term, stable funding of the program. The bill had its first hearing this week in the House. You can see the testimony here. 5/16/2019
This week, OMA’s Sustainability Peer Network toured the White Castle frozen food manufacturing facility in Vandalia to observe waste reduction innovations and processes.
Angel Arroyo-Rodriguez, Program Leader, Materials and Waste Management at Ohio EPA, joined the group and shared information about food waste disposal options.
The OMA thanks White Castle’s Rob Camp, vice president of retail operations, as well as Shannon Tolliver, social responsibility and environmental sustainability manager, for hosting this event.
OMA’s Sustainability Peer Network was created to help OMA members network, learn and share about sustainability goals, practices and projects. Manufacturing members can sign up here to receive invitations to future tours and events. 5/15/2019
OMA’s Sustainability Peer Network toured White Castle’s frozen food plant in Vandalia on Wednesday, May 15.
Ohio EPA Director Laurie Stevenson on Wednesday provided budget testimony to the Ohio Senate. The same evening, the House Finance Committee put its finishing touches on the state budget bill (HB 166).
Among the House’s budget changes affecting Ohio EPA were the removal of the Best Available Technology language; an amendment addressing the Lake Erie Bill of Rights by explicitly denying an eco-system standing in courts; and an appropriation to the George Barley Water Prize, which is a contest to help solve water issues. 5/8/2019
This week, the OMA submitted comments on Ohio EPA’s draft rules on Human Health Water Quality OAC 3745-1. These standards — designed to protect surface water from pollution — are being amended as part of the agency’s Triennial Water Quality Standards Review. The changes being considered by Ohio EPA include implementing maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) statewide (as opposed to only the Ohio River Basin), as well as an updated water quality table.
Water quality standards are used in the implementation of Clean Water Act programs, including the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, Section 401 Water Quality Certifications, and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) reports. Potentially impacted entities may include facilities that discharge or plan to discharge wastewater containing any of the specific chemicals listed in these rules.
Contact Rob Brundrett at the OMA if you have any questions or thoughts. 5/2/2019
Register soon for this! On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, OMA’s Sustainability Peer Network heads to Vandalia to tour White Castle’s frozen food manufacturing plant, which is certified LEED Gold. White Castle’s energy, water, waste and other sustainability initiatives will be showcased. Learn more and register here. Manufacturers only, please. 4/22/2019
Earlier this week, the OMA submitted comments pertaining to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) and potential revisions to the commission’s pollution control standards (PCS).
In its comments, the OMA expressed concerns that differences between ORSANCO’s standards and those of the Clean Water Act “can and do lead to confusion for the manufacturing community” and that “there is often no effective way to question or challenge the appropriateness or applicability of the underlying PCS in specific permitting situations.” OMA recommended that the PCS should be removed from the ORSANCO program.
For the full text of the letter, click here. 4/16/2019
Earlier this week, the OMA weighed in with comments on the Trump Administration’s efforts to rewrite the federal water pollution rule known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) — which defines the scope of federal regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Because the courts have rejected the Trump Administration’s effort to suspend operation of Obama-era revisions to WOTUS, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed a narrower rule that may survive judicial scrutiny. The Trump Administration’s WOTUS definition is more restrained and observes traditional limits on the scope of federal power. The public comment period ended this week.
In its comments, the OMA wrote, “The proposed rule strikes an appropriate balance between protecting waters and wetlands, and providing clarity and predictability to stakeholders and regulators,” and would curtail the regulatory “creep” of WOTUS as it affects manufacturing activity. Additionally, the OMA suggested possible improvements to the proposed rule changes, including in the areas of stormwater control features, waste treatment systems, traditional navigable waters, tributaries and ditches.
For the full text of the OMA letter, click here. 4/18/2019
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Laurie Stevenson addressed the OMA Environment Committee this week, the first of three scheduled committee meetings for the year.
Appointed in January by Gov. Mike DeWine, Stevenson is a 30-year veteran of the agency. She most recently served as deputy director for the agency’s business relations, where she worked closely with the regulated community.
Stevenson told committee members that in addition to enforcing the state’s environmental standards, the agency “has an equal responsibility to helping businesses get from Point A to Point B” regardless of whether the business is large or small. She also briefed the committee on the administration’s budget priorities related to environmental issues, including surface water protections and “best available technology” permitting.
Stay on top of the environmental issues affecting Ohio’s manufacturers by visiting the OMA website. 4/10/2019