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Environment Roundup: Concerns Grow Over Regulations

June 9, 2023
  • The latest survey conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers finds that U.S. manufacturers are increasingly concerned about federal regulations.
  • The U.S. EPA has sent questionnaires to roughly 2,000 metal finishing and electroplating facilities regarding the use of PFAS, according to reports.
  • OMA Connections Partner Squire Patton Boggs has published this analysis of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that narrows the definition of “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS).
  • The White House says it opposes GOP bills aimed at restricting gas stove regulations, but stopped short of threatening to veto them, reports say.

Meanwhile, wildfires in eastern Canada have prompted air quality alerts throughout much of the U.S., including in Ohio. See this interactive map showing air quality across the country. 6/8/2023

OMA Opposes Bill to Raise Waste Fees by 60%

June 2, 2023

This week, the OMA opposed legislation that would harm Ohio’s manufacturing competitiveness by altering the state’s solid waste laws. Senate Bill 119 — introduced to address an influx of out-of-state trash — would raise fees on both in-state and out-of-state waste to $7.50 per ton.

That total, which includes a new $1-per-ton fee to fund the enforcement of waste laws, would represent a nearly 60% increase from the current $4.75.

Tim Ling, corporate environment director for OMA member Plaskolite LLC, testified on behalf of the OMA in opposition to SB 119. (Watch and read Ling’s testimony.) He told the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee that instead of a statewide plan to impose another financial burden on Ohio businesses, a local solution should be devised with the help of Ohio EPA. 5/30/2023

SCOTUS Deals Setback for Biden WOTUS Rule

June 2, 2023

A U.S. Supreme Court decision last week has narrowed the definition of which waters and wetlands are considered “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) and are protected by the federal Clean Water Act.

In this summary, OMA Connections Partner Roetzel writes that the U.S. EPA will now be forced to reconsider its WOTUS rule, which has been stayed in 26 states.

OMA Connections Partner Vorys writes that the SCOTUS opinion impacts only the jurisdictional limits of federal waters. Because Ohio already regulates isolated wetlands, the scope of state-regulated wetlands will expand to cover more wetlands as a result of this ruling. 5/30/2023

Solid Waste Bill Would Increase Fees

May 25, 2023

Legislation was recently introduced in the Ohio Senate to make significant changes to the state’s solid waste laws. Senate Bill 119 is intended to address an influx of out-of-state trash, according to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin).

Concerns have been raised that manufacturers could be negatively impacted by SB 119 since the bill would nearly double the fees for the transfer or disposal of solid waste.

The OMA continues to monitor SB 119 and gather analysis on its potential impact on the manufacturing community. 5/24/2023

Webinar: Ohio EPA’s Regulatory Activity

May 25, 2023

On July 12, Ohio EPA will host a complimentary webinar to provide an overview of the environmental regulations affecting both large and small businesses, and explain the agency’s permitting, inspection, and enforcement procedures.

This webinar will focus on air pollution controls, water regulations, solid and hazardous waste, as well as the agency’s compliance assistance services for businesses. Learn more. 5/23/2023

U.S. House Speaker: Permitting Reform Still in Play

May 25, 2023

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said earlier this week that an overhaul of federal permitting laws was still on the table in debt ceiling negotiations, according to reports. The National Association of Manufacturers has called on Congress to pass permitting reform to boost U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. 5/23/2023

Judge OKs Deal Addressing Lake Erie Pollution

May 19, 2023

A federal judge recently issued an order approving a consent decree providing a path to end the the six-year pending litigation in the Maumee Watershed case. The decree orders the Ohio EPA to submit a Maumee Watershed Nutrient TMDL to U.S. EPA by June 30 — thereby establishing a deadline to address the toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie.

OMA general counsel Bricker Graydon provides more details on this development. The OMA and Bricker have been key advocates, in cooperation with the Ohio EPA, to establish TMDL parameters that are fair to manufacturers in northwest Ohio. 5/15/2023

Ohio Senate Approves ESG Investments Bill

May 19, 2023

Last week, the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 6, which would ban the state retirement system boards, BWC, and state institutions of higher education from making investment decisions with the primary goal of influencing social, environment, or governance (ESG) policy of any corporation. Here’s a summary of SB 6, which now awaits House action. 5/15/2023

Report: Good Neighbor Plan Threatens Electric Grid

May 19, 2023

As previously reported, the U.S. EPA recently finalized its new “Good Neighbor” plan to require industrial facilities and power plants in 23 states — including Ohio — to cut NOx emissions.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) says the plan could impact the reliability of the electric grid, noting that two-thirds of the continent could face reliability issues this summer. 5/18/2023

Northeast States Developing PFAS Ban

May 19, 2023

OMA Connections Partner Vorys reports that a coalition of Northeastern states are working on what’s being called the PFAS Prevention Model Act — with the aim of reducing or eliminating the use of PFAS in consumer products. If adopted by the states, the proposal would significantly affect certain manufacturers. Read more. 5/18/2023