Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Policy From the Statehouse

Senate Bill 386 Drops Water Quality Language
by Clay Flaherty, AmeriCorps VISTA

According to statements issued a few weeks ago from the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC), language which would have limited the ability of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to enforce water quality standards has been dropped from Sentate Bill 386.

The Rural Rambler previously called on our readers to take action and call their local representatives and defeat the measure. Following outcry from across the state, and aided by pressure from OEC, efforts to block the legislation were successful and a compromise was reached.

The Columbus Dispatch gave the following synopsis late on December 17 in an article by Spencer Hunt titled "Ohio EPA to keep oversight of coal mines":

Faced with opposition from them and the governor's office, a House committee this morning deleted portions of Senate Bill 386 that would transfer the Ohio EPA's authority to mining regulators at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The committee instead passed, in a 21-0 vote, a compromise plan that would give Natural Resources officials 240 days to approve or deny permits for new coal mines. Natural Resources and Ohio EPA officials also agreed to form a joint task force that will study ways to more quickly approve new mine applications.

Thanks to all who took the time to contact your representative!

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