News and Analysis
Ohio EPA’s Compliance Assistance Conference, which was scheduled for March 31 – April 1, has been cancelled due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. The agency says the conference will be rescheduled for the fall 2020. 3/12/2020
This week, the OMA submitted comments on two different clean water draft plans issued by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission.
Earlier this year, officials announced the release of the updated Ohio Domestic Action Plan, aimed at reducing phosphorus in Lake Erie under the bi-national Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Last month, the Lake Erie Protection and Restoration Plan (LEPR) for 2020 was also released for public comment. The LEPR, last published in 2016, reflects actions that the Ohio Lake Erie Commission and its member agencies will take during the next several years.
The OMA has created a water nutrient working group to respond and actively engage on water quality issues to ensure that manufacturing interests are heard. 3/5/2020
Ohio EPA has begun collecting samples to test for the presence of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Ohio’s drinking water. Ohio EPA expects to complete its sampling of Ohio’s 1,500 public water systems by the end of 2020. The agency has created this site for updates. (It’s worth noting that testing for PFAS in human blood has shown significant declines over the past decade thanks to collaborative efforts led by manufacturers.)
The OMA has created a working group to address PFAS-related issues and possible impacts to manufacturers. If you would like to learn more or participate, contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett. 3/2/2020
Ohio EPA this week hosted its second regional meeting for interested parties, including manufacturers and the OMA, to discuss the likelihood that the Cleveland airshed will be bumped up from “marginal” to “moderate non-attainment” under the federal ozone standard. The standard was lowered to 70 parts per billion during the Obama administration. Earlier this month, Ohio EPA notified parties in the Cincinnati area of the same possibility.
A change in status will trigger additional compliance requirements under the federal Clean Air Act. One of the key components of additional regulatory restrictions would be emissions offsets, so that any new emissions creator would need to be set at the New Source Review offset ratio 1.15:1.
The OMA will continue to work with members and Ohio EPA on this important issue that could affect many of the state’s manufacturers and Ohio’s overall economy. 2/27/2020
The White House Council on Environmental Quality has published a notice of proposed rulemaking reflecting changes to the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposed changes would streamline NEPA’s environmental review process and narrow how, and whether, federal agencies consider the effects of climate change in their review of energy and infrastructure projects.
OMA Connections Partner Jones Day, in its quarterly update, notes the proposed rule “will shorten the environmental review process and improve coordination between local, state and federal permitting agencies.” The public comment period is open until March 10, as the administration seeks to get the final rule published before the November election. 2/27/2020
Last week, Ohio EPA released its draft “2020 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report,” which is available for comment until March 13, 2020. This report is noteworthy because for the first time Ohio is identifying Lake Erie’s western basin as an “impaired” water. Due to this declaration, Ohio EPA is now committed to prepare a total maximum daily load (TMDL) analysis. Learn more here.
The OMA will be reviewing the report and preparing comments for members. The new TMDL has the potential to impact many manufacturers with operations in Northwest Ohio.
Ohio EPA will present information about the draft impaired waters list during the agency’s 2 p.m. webinar on Monday, March 2. The webinar can be viewed at Ohio EPA’s central office (50 West Town Street, Suite 700, in Columbus) or online. 2/20/2020
Ohio EPA’s Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention (OCAPP) has created a new avenue for companies to receive free and confidential environmental assistance regarding regulatory concerns about air, waste, water, and other environmental requirements. This service is available Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. — and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. To utilize this service, click here. 2/20/2020
Ohio EPA has announced that the Ohio Lake Erie Commission will host a webinar on Monday, Feb. 24, from 4 to 5 p.m. to answer questions about the draft “Ohio Domestic Action Plan 2020,” released late last month. The plan seeks to reduce phosphorus from entering Lake Erie under the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in accord with Gov. DeWine’s H2Ohio plan. 2/19/2020
The U.S. EPA has published this flier showing that between 1970 and 2018, the combined emissions of the six common pollutants dropped by 74% across the U.S. This progress occurred as the economy expanded, Americans drove more miles, and the nation’s population and energy use increased. Details are available on the U.S. EPA’s AirTrends website. 2/18/2020
This week, the OMA Environment Committee held its first meeting of 2020 to review numerous regulatory and legislative matters that could affect Ohio manufacturers. Guest speaker Anne Vogel, the governor’s assistant policy director for energy and environment, briefed members on the H2Ohio initiative and state monitoring of PFAS levels in drinking water.
Tim Ling, Plaskolite’s corporate environmental director, updated members on Ohio’s storm water permitting. Additional meeting topics included Lake Erie remediation plans, hazardous waste rules, and the potential effects of the U.S. EPA’s 2015 ozone standard on Ohio cities.
The next meeting of the OMA Environment Committee will be Thursday, May 28. All members are welcome to register. 2/12/2020
Anne Vogel with Gov. Mike DeWine’s office spoke this week to the OMA Environment Committee.