With the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Governor’s stay at home order in March 2020, Ohio EPA recognized that regulated entities could be impacted by a reduced workforce necessary to maintain normal operations at some facilities. Given these circumstances, Ohio EPA allowed entities to submit requests for regulatory flexibility to assist them in alternative approaches to maintaining compliance, such as extending reporting deadlines, consideration of waiving late fees, and exercising enforcement discretion. Providing regulatory flexibility was also consistent with U.S. EPA’s March 26, 2020, memorandum entitled COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program.
Under Ohio EPA’s regulatory flexibility approach, all regulated entities remained obligated to take all available actions necessary to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and permit requirements to protect the health and safety of Ohioans and the environment. In order to be considered for regulatory flexibility, the regulated entity was required to submit an individual request explaining the impact of COVID-19 and the specific flexibility requested.
With the lifting of Ohio’s stay at home order and the reopening of businesses under Ohio’s Responsible RestartOhio Plan, Ohio EPA discontinued considering any new COVID-19 regulatory flexibility requests effective Aug. 31, 2020. This deadline is also consistent with U.S. EPA’s termination of federally related regulatory flexibility requests.