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Toledo Passes Lake Erie Bill of Rights – Choppy Waters Ahead

March 1, 2019

In a February 26, 2019 special election,Toledo’s voters passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (the LEBOR). The LEBOR is an amendment to the City of Toledo’s Charter that creates a new cause of action for the violation of the right of Lake Erie and its watershed to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve.”

The LEBOR initiative is similar to many other community rights proposals that seek to establish rights for natural resources that citizens can protect through legal action.

The corporations or entities that could be impacted by the LEBOR’s enactment range far and wide. Generally, companies that have an Ohio EPA issued water discharge permit authorizing them to discharge into surface waters within the Lake Erie watershed could be affected.

On February 27th, Drewes Farm Partnership v. City of Toledo was filed in federal court in Toledo, asserting many challenges to the LEBOR, including the argument that the LEBOR exceeds Toledo’s limited authority to pass legislation and is in violation of state and federal preemption laws. The Drewes case seeks a preliminary injunction to stop the LEBOR going into effect before its defects are litigated.

These, and other legal challenges, are anticipated in the near future, with industry groups, agricultural interest groups, and businesses all interested in challenging the LEBOR for its overreach and broad declarations.

More information can be found in this memorandum from OMA environmental counsel Bricker & Eckler LLP. 2/28/2019

Ohio EPA Offers Compliance Help with Conditional Exemption for Hazardous Waste Contaminated Wipes and Apparel

March 1, 2019

The Ohio EPA has established a web page to help manufacturers interested in taking advantage of the recently introduced conditional exemption for hazardous waste contaminated wipes and apparel that are laundered and returned for reuse.

The exemption includes – but is not limited to – rags, mops, drop cloths, and apparel (for example, gloves, uniforms, smocks and coveralls), which can be made of woven or unwoven and natural or synthetic materials (fabric, leather or rubber-like material).

Because many of these contaminated textiles are intended to be cleaned onsite or sent to a laundry or similar facility for cleaning, they may be excluded from the hazardous waste regulations provided the facility that generated the material meets all conditions of the exclusion. 2/28/2019

Water Takes Priority in the Senate

February 22, 2019

Senate Bill 2 introduced by Senators Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) and Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) focuses on improving the health of Lake Erie and Ohio’s waters.

The bill creates and funds a comprehensive statewide watershed planning structure to be implemented by local soil and water conversation districts to encourage efficient crop growth, soil conservation and water protection methods.

Governor DeWine has indicated that his state budget would take a comprehensive look at Lake Erie and ways to reduce the impacts of agricultural runoff and the resulting nutrient loading of Lake Erie.

OMA members remain heavily involved in water quality issues and are working to protect manufacturers’ interests in any Ohio water quality plan. If you are interested in water issues, please contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett. 2/21/2019

Reminder: EPA Reports Due Soon

February 22, 2019

A number of Ohio EPA reports are due in the first half of 2019. Ohio EPA sent letters on January 30th to regulated facilities to remind them of these annual reporting requirements.

The reports coming due in April include:

  • Annual Emissions Report, due April 15
  • Title V Compliance Certification, due April 30
  • Quarterly Compliance Report, due April 30

If you need assistance, please use these links and contacts:

2/21/2019

OMA Sits Down with Ohio EPA Leadership

February 15, 2019

This week OMA President Eric Burkland and Public Policy Director Rob Brundrett sat down with the new Ohio EPA Director Laurie Stevenson and Assistant Director Laura Factor.

Director Stevenson is no stranger to the manufacturing community. The director has worked at Ohio EPA in a wide variety of positions including the head of business relations.

Director Stevenson will be at the OMA Environment Committee meeting on April 10 to discuss the agency’s priorities and any state budget issues. All members welcome; you can register here. 2/14/2019

New Ohio EPA Director Laurie Stevenson (center) with Assistant Director Laura Factor, and OMA’s Rob Brundrett

OMA Comments on Ohio EPA Biocriteria

February 8, 2019

This week the OMA submitted general comments in response to Ohio EPA’s Early Stakeholder Outreach for its Application of Biological Survey Data to Development of Water Quality Based Effluent Limitations (OAC 3745-2-03).

The new rule is intended to provide clarification and additional detail regarding when and how the biocriteria narrative should be used, as well as define what information is needed by Ohio EPA in order evaluate a request to use the biocriteria narrative.

OMA’s Rob Brundrett is following the issue; contact him if you have questions.2/7/2018

Ohio EPA webinar: Conditional Exemption for Hazardous Waste Contaminated Wipes and Apparel

February 8, 2019

This webinar will explain the new Ohio-specific rule to conditionally exclude contaminated wipes and apparel (that are not currently excluded under the solvent wipe rule) from regulation under the hazardous waste regulations when certain conditions are met. The apparel would include, but not be limited to, gloves, uniforms, smocks, and coveralls that are laundered and intended for reuse.

The webinar is on February 20 at 10:00 a.m. Register here. 2/4/2019

Jones Day Releases Winter Climate Report

February 8, 2019

OMA Connections Partner Jones Day just published its Winter 2019 Climate Report. The publication includes regulatory, litigation and transactional climate updates. 2/7/2019

Stevenson Named Ohio EPA Director

January 11, 2019

This week, Governor-elect Mike DeWine appointed Laurie Stevenson as the new director of Ohio EPA. Stevenson, who has worked for the agency for more than 20 years in various capacities, most recently held the position of Deputy Director of Business Relations. In that role she served as the front door of the agency, working closely with the regulated community including manufacturers.

Stevenson also lead the agency’s E3 Sustainability Awards program, which was started under outgoing director Craig Butler.

Director Stevenson has been a longtime friend of the OMA and has presented to our Environment Committee and at other OMA events dozens of times over the years. We are excited to work with Laurie, and her team, in her new role at Ohio EPA. 1/10/2018