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Ohio Supreme Court ruling is costly setback for Ohio EPA
The high court says 1,761 new EPA TMDL pollution limits are 'rules' and require public hearings, which could take years.
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


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Jeff St. Clair
 
Point source pollution is monitored by the Ohio EPA through a program that sets limits on the amount of pollutants permitted to be released into a waterway. Those limits, called TMDL's, have been called 'rules' by the Ohio Supreme Court and must now comply with Ohio's rule-making laws.
Courtesy of Kate Boicourt | IAN CC Flickr
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The Ohio EPA received a setback at the hands of the Ohio Supreme Court in its efforts to combat pollution contributing to toxic algae blooms.

The state’s high court ruled last week that the process the EPA uses to set limits on discharges from factories, municipal waste treatment plants, and other polluters is invalid because it does not include a public comment period under Ohio's rule-making laws.

Joe Koncelik is an environmental lawyer, and former Ohio EPA director. He says the enforceability of limits set by the EPA, called TMDL’s, or Total Maximum Daily Loads, are now called into question.

Koncelik on Supreme Court ruling on EPA rules

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“It’s almost a do-ver -  it IS a do-over for 1,700 TMDL’s, meaning they all have to go through back through a formal rule-making process before the agency can use them to establish discharge limits and permits.” 

Koncelik says revisiting the TMDL’s could take years.

Municipalities have argued that the EPA’s methods for establishing the limits are unsound and require public comment.

Many of the new limits monitor the discharge of phosphorus and nitrogen from waste-treatment plants that feed toxic algae in Lake Erie and other Ohio waterways.
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