Introducing the Energy & Environment Committee’s New Chairman
Or should I say Chairwoman. I am pleased to announce that Kathy Wiedeman, Director of Environmental, Health and Safety at Glatfelter, has agreed to serve as the chair of the Ohio Chamber's Energy and Environment Committee. Kathy brings with her a wealth of environmental permitting knowledge on multiple media fronts and a strong understanding of energy issues facing Ohio.
As many of you know, John Hollback (formerly with AEP), had been the committee chairman for over 10 years but retired earlier this year. This left the committee with a huge void to fill. I am so excited that Kathy has agreed to take on this new role and I know she will do an amazing job. Please feel free to drop her a note welcoming her to the new position.
US EPA Requests Boiler MACT Delay
On December 7, US EPA filed a motion in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia seeking an extension in the current court-ordered schedule for issuing rules for boilers and incinerators. US EPA said the additional time is needed for the agency to re-propose the rules based on a full assessment of information received since the rules were proposed. US EPA is under a current court order to issue final rules on January 16, 2011, and is seeking in its motion to the court to extend the schedule to finalize the rules by April 2012.
The comments US EPA received following the proposal shed new light on a number of key areas, including the scope and coverage of the rules and the way to categorize the various boiler-types. After reviewing the data and the more than 4,800 public comments, the agency believes it is appropriate to issue a revised proposal that reflects the new data and allows for additional public comment.
The Ohio Chamber has been working hard to get the word out that the rule, as proposed, is completely unworkable. The Chamber submitted comments to the agency back in August during the public comment period and has worked with other statewide associations to increase press coverage on the negative impact these rules would have to the state. As a matter of fact, Columbus Business First did an article last Friday entitled “Businesses ready to blow a gasket over proposed EPA rules for boiler emissions.” Finally, Gov. Strickland sent a letter to US EPA a couple months back and he has followed that up with a letter this week to President Obama.
Ohio EPA Releases Fourth Water Quality Rule Package
On December 8, Ohio EPA finally released the “mysterious” fourth water quality rule package. Ohio EPA began rewriting Ohio’s water quality standards years ago and had intended on releasing a total of four rule packages (water quality standards, 401 water certification program, antidegradation and stream mitigation). According to Ohio EPA, these draft rules contain the most extensive revisions to Ohio’s water quality standards in 30 years and will impact virtually all industry sectors in Ohio.
While the first three rules have been out there for over two years now, we had yet to see the final package (stream mitigation). The release of the stream mitigation rule draft has begun the 90-day comment period for ALL four rule packages. We will be briefing Governor-elect Kasich and his staff about these extensive rule rewrites and anticipate that he will be eager to hear about our concerns. We will be following this situation closely to see if comments will be necessary.
Industry Officially Seeks Extension of Comment Period for Expanded Stormwater Permit
This week, the Ohio Chamber, along with other statewide organizations, sent a letter to Ohio EPA seeking a 90-day extension of the comment period for the revised general stormwater permit. Currently, a public hearing is scheduled for December 16 and comments are due by December 23.
On October 26, Ohio EPA came out with a revised general storm water permit. Through the years, we’ve had a pretty user-friendly storm water general permit, which needs to be renewed next year. Ohio EPA has public noticed the renewal by replacing the current user-friendly permit (36 pages) with the US EPA version pretty much as is (171 pages).
It has been pointed out to me, and can be expected when you add over 100 pages, there are more stringent requirements such as more prescriptive inspections, quarterly jar storm water sampling (visuals of samples now, prepping for future lab analysis), reporting your annual comprehensive site compliance evaluation, plus quarterly benchmark storm water monitoring for a pretty diverse group of industries (along with numeric limitations).
US EPA Seeks Comments on Integrated Cleanup Initiative Implementation Plan
On December 9, US EPA released for comment today the draft Integrated Cleanup Initiative (ICI) Plan, a three-year strategy to focus on the agency’s land cleanup programs. Sites covered under the cleanup programs include Superfund, federal facilities, brownfields, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act corrective and underground storage tank.
The goal of the initiative is to accelerate cleanups of contaminated sites where possible, address a greater number of contaminated sites, and put the sites back into productive use. The initiative also seeks to provide communities with greater accountability and transparency on US EPA’s land cleanup programs. While many actions identified in the ICI are underway, US EPA will use the comments received to further evaluate and refine the draft plan.
US EPA Seeks Input on Financial Responsibility Requirements for Hard Rock Mining
On December 6, US EPA invited small businesses to participate in a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel on a proposed rule that would establish financial responsibility requirements for classes of facilities within the hard rock mining industry.
The panel will ask a selected group of Small Entity Representatives (SERs), to provide advice and recommendations on the proposed rule to the panel. US EPA seeks self-nominations directly from small entities that may be subject to the rule requirements. Self-nominations may be submitted through the link below and must be received by December 20, 2010.
The requirements will be developed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly called Superfund. The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires EPA to establish a federal panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBAR panel will include representatives from the Small Business Administration, the Office of Management and Budget and US EPA.