News and Analysis
Save the date for the upcoming OMA Environment Committee on Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (EDT). We’ll meet in the OMA offices and lunch will be provided. This is a good opportunity for OMA members to receive legislative and regulatory updates, as well as be briefed on key provisions in the state budget. Go here to register, or call the OMA at (800) 662-4463. You must register for in-person or call-in attendance. 9/25/2019
Late last week, the U.S. EPA formally scrapped the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Read the summary by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
While environmental groups are expected to fight the withdrawal of the rule in the courts — and California has threatened to sue the administration — EPA officials already have a narrower rule in the works. The OMA has formally supported the administration’s proposed rule, which is more restrained and observes traditional limits on the scope of federal power. 9/16/2019
Ohio EPA has released an Early Stakeholder Outreach for rules in Ohio Administrative Code chapter 3745-21, which establishes requirements for the control of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO) from stationary emission sources. VOCs are a precursor compound from which ozone is formed. Ozone is one of the six criteria pollutants for which a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) has been established under the federal Clean Air Act. CO is also one of the six criteria pollutants for which a NAAQS has been established.
Ohio EPA seeks to make minor amendments to the current rules. Written comments will be accepted through close of business Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Members may submit input to: Mr. Paul Braun, Ohio EPA Division of Air Pollution Control, PO Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, or by e-mail. 9/19/2019
Ohio EPA has revised rules contained in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-110, which addresses nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from Ohio sources. The chapter includes provisions on limits, testing, and record keeping.
Ohio EPA determined that certain changes to the current regulations were needed, primarily because OAC rule 3745-110-03 contains site-specific facility rules that must be updated as the need arises. In addition, a new compliance methodology for the use of a temporary continuous-emissions monitor is being added to OAC rule 3745-110-05.
Please see the rule synopsis for a complete summary of the proposed rule amendments. Comment deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Comments must be submitted by either emailing Paul Braun at Ohio EPA or sending comments via U.S. Mail to: Paul Braun, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, DAPC, Lazarus Government Center, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049. 9/12/2019
OMA Connections Partner Bricker & Eckler LLP reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ohio EPA recently announced that “the Columbus area is the first non-attainment area in the nation to meet the most recent federal air quality standard for ozone.”
Now that the Columbus area meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, businesses in the area “will face fewer air permitting restrictions, paving the way for infrastructure investment and economic development that will create jobs,” according to the report. 9/3/2019
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. The main objectives of the rule-making are to update the generator regulations, provide flexibility in hazardous waste management, and close regulatory gaps. On Aug. 21, the Ohio EPA will host a webinar for manufacturers and others to learn about where this regulatory change is in the Ohio rule-making procedure and how the new provisions apply to generators. 8/15/2019
This is a reminder that the OMA has partnered with the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson to host a manufacturers meeting with senior management of U.S. EPA Region V and Ohio EPA. The meeting — set for Oct. 10 at the U.S. EPA offices in Chicago — will feature updates on all major program areas, followed by a Q&A session. All OMA manufacturing members are welcome, but due to security and limited seating, you need to reserve your spot early. Please contact the OMA’s Rob Brundrett to save your spot. You must RSVP to be admitted. 8/8/2019
In early 2019, Toledo’s voters passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) — an amendment to the city charter that declares Lake Erie and its watershed have enforceable legal rights to “exist, flourish and naturally evolve.” It prohibits any corporation (defined to include any business) or government from violating these rights, and it allows the city or any resident of the city to sue in state court to enforce these rights and prohibition.
The LEBOR initiative is similar to other community proposals seeking to establish legally enforceable rights for natural resources. Many corporations or entities could be impacted by the LEBOR’s enactment — especially businesses that have an Ohio EPA-issued water discharge permit authorizing them to conduct operations within the Lake Erie watershed.
The OMA was able to help secure an amendment in the recently enacted state budget to declare that “nature or any ecosystem does not have standing to participate or bring an action in any court.” The amendment also prohibits any person on behalf of nature or an ecosystem from bringing an action in court. The inclusion of this language in the final budget is a big win, especially for any permit-holding manufacturer in the Lake Erie basin. 8/1/2019
As reported last week, the OMA recently submitted comments in response to Ohio EPA’s Early Stakeholder Outreach on the agency’s five-year rule review of air pollution regulations. The OMA also teamed up with some business allies to ensure the agency was aware of the broad-based support for specific suggestions to the current regulations. The OMA will continue to work with Ohio EPA as changes to the rules are developed. 8/1/2019
The State of Ohio’s new main operating budget (House Bill 166) — passed and signed last week — created a $172 million “H2Ohio fund,” aimed at protecting Lake Erie, other state waterways, and community water projects. The fund is a priority of Gov. Mike DeWine, whose administration has begun to form a strategy on how best to administer the dollars, while promising “more public discussions in the next few weeks.”
Approximately $46 million of the fund will be dedicated to wetland restoration to help to prevent nutrient run-off that contributes to algal blooms. The budget requires the Lake Erie Commission to coordinate with state agencies and boards to submit an annual report to the governor and legislature on H2Ohio spending during the prior fiscal year.
Learn more at the administration’s H2Ohio website. 7/24/2019