News and Analysis
Ohio business leaders are invited to take part in a call with U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Monday, May 4, at 4:15 p.m. (ET). Call-in line is (866) 609-6049, followed by this code: 6429667.
The call will focus on the recent guidance from the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help facility operators and families properly clean and disinfect spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The call will include a question and answer session for Ohio businesses in attendance. If a company would like to ask a question, email EPA staff. 4/30/2020
The U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers recently published the long-awaited final “waters of the United States” rule, which defines the scope of waters that are federally regulated under the Clean Water Act. It will go into effect June 22. According to analysis by OMA Connections Partner Thompson Hine, industry groups and agricultural groups have hailed the Trump administration’s rule, but legal battles are on the horizon. 4/28/2020
As companies begin re-opening or resuming normal operations, OMA Connections Partner Thompson Hine has developed this checklist that businesses can use to assess their environmental compliance status following the lifting or reduction of federal and state limitations and guidelines. 4/28/2020
In a 6-3 opinion issued Thursday, April 23, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal Clean Water Act regulates activities releasing pollutants that are eventually conveyed through groundwater to navigable water.
Rejecting the Trump administration’s views, the majority ruled in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund et al. that a permit is required when there is a direct discharge from a point source into navigable waters, or when there is the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge.”
According to the OMA’s legal counsel, Bricker & Eckler, the Supreme Court’s decision is likely to have far reaching implications for permitting and enforcement pursuant to the Clean Water Act. 4/23/2020
To mark the 50th anniversary celebration of Earth Day, Ohio EPA this week noted that half a century ago, businesses had few places to go for guidance with environmental issues. Today, Ohio’s businesses can contact Ohio EPA for free and confidential compliance assistance. According to the agency, compliance staff has assisted more than 80,000 businesses. Learn more here. 4/22/2020
On April 14, U.S. EPA proposed to retain the current national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM) without revision. After reviewing the air quality criteria and primary and secondary NAAQS for fine and coarse PM, the agency concluded that there is insufficient scientific evidence to support tightening these standards. U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated he believes the current levels will be protective of public health while the agency continues to evaluate PM. EPA will accept public comment for 60 days after the proposed standards are published in the Federal Register. 4/16/2020
This week, the U.S. EPA announced 15 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants totaling more than $9 million to fund projects addressing excess nutrient runoff from non-point sources, including stormwater and agriculture, to the Great Lakes. Approximately $2.5 million of this amount will be going to Ohio entities. 4/14/2020
General Motors and Honda recently announced an agreement to jointly develop two new Honda electric vehicles (EV) using GM’s global EV platform powered by proprietary batteries. The vehicles are scheduled to be released for the 2024 model-year.
“This collaboration will put together the strength of both companies, while combined scale and manufacturing efficiencies will ultimately provide greater value to customers,” said Rick Schostek, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) celebrated the news, noting that the cars would use batteries made at the forthcoming Lordstown plant. 4/7/2020
The H2Ohio program could see its funding cut due to reductions in state spending during the coronavirus outbreak. Hannah News Service reported this week that Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda said the program will undergo a budgetary “reevaluation” along with other agency programs as a result of the pandemic.
Earlier this year, Gov. Mike DeWine and Pelanda announced that $30 million in H2Ohio funding would be made available for farmers in 14 Northwest Ohio counties to reduce agricultural phosphorous pollution, which is the most significant contributor to the formation of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. 4/7/2020
Among the myriad of concerns facing industry are new environmental challenges caused by staffing issues, essential business determinations, stay-at-home orders, supply chain disruption and other complications from the COVID-19 outbreak.
OMA Connections Partner Squire Patton Boggs is hosting a free webinar at 1 p.m. (EDT) on Tuesday, April 14,titled: “Environmental Compliance During COVID-19: Federal and State Agency Guidance on Enforcement & Practical Tips for Businesses.” This webinar will focus on distilling the environmental guidance offered by federal and state regulators, and translating that guidance into practical advice that industry leaders can use to help mitigate enforcement risk. 4/9/2020