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MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Fee Oros
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mary McCarron

Ohio EPA Issues Draft Wetlands Rules

Ohio EPA is seeking public comments on a draft rule affecting water quality standards for wetlands. Public comments on the draft rule are sought through May 17, 2013.

Water quality standards protect Ohio’s lakes, rivers, streams and other surface waters from pollution. This rulemaking addresses protections put in place for wetlands, setting up water quality criteria for the Director of Ohio EPA to consider when determining whether a lowering of water quality in wetlands would be allowed and what mitigations would be appropriate for water quality impacts.

The changes being considered would implement statutory requirements from Senate Bill 294. This bill allows a fee to be levied in lieu of requiring traditional permittee wetland mitigation or purchasing wetland mitigation bank credits for Section 401 water quality certifications and isolated wetland permits. The rule would set up a defined hierarchy of mitigation preferences when compensatory mitigation is required. The draft rule would require an applicant to use wetland mitigation banks first when available, but also would allow the permittee to pay a fee in lieu of constructing a wetlands mitigation project where wetland mitigation bank credits are not available.

Copies of the draft rules are available from Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water by contacting Melinda Harris at (614) 728-1357. Written comments can be mailed by May 17, to Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, or emailed to dsw_rulecomments@epa.state.oh.us. Questions regarding the rule can be emailed to Ric Queen or call (614) 644-2872.

Ohio EPA will consider all comments before it formally proposes rule changes.  When the rule is formally proposed, Ohio EPA will hold a public hearing and offer another public comment period before any changes are adopted.

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. In the past 40 years, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling. Ohio EPA...40 years and moving forward.


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