On December 16, 2022, Governor DeWine announced $88 million in grant funding for 123 brownfield remediation projects. This marks the third round of funding. Collectively, the three rounds of funding have resulted in a total of $341 million in grant funding awarded in one year. Of the $341 million in grant funds provided $19.2 million
Ohio Department of Development
State Halts Applications for Brownfield Grant Program
Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Develop put the following notice on the Clean Ohio Fund webpage:
Effective immediately: The Clean Ohio Assistance Fund is no longer accepting applications. If you have a project and would like to discuss other funding opportunities please contact us.
Back in October, Governor Kasich announced that he was redirecting…
Loans Versus Grants to Spur Brownfield Redevelopment
Current Debate Regarding the Future of the Clean Ohio Program
The Kasich Administration has announced that it is re-evaluating the Clean Ohio program. The next round of the Clean Ohio Revitalization Program (Round 12) will be the last. Also, funding under the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund, which pays for sampling on brownfield properties, is likely to…
Miceli Dairy Project Highlights the Benefits of the Clean Ohio Program
Last Friday, I attended the Clean Ohio Council meeting with my client Miceli Dairy Products, Inc. (Miceli Dairy). I had worked with Miceli Dairy over the last couple years on evaluating five parcels of property adjacent to their current facility on which the Dairy would like to expand its operations.
The Dairy submitted an application…
Kasich Administration Releases Plan for Reorganization of the Ohio Department of Development
One of Governor Kasich’s top priorities is to restructure the Ohio Department of Development shifting some of its core functions to the private sector. The General Assembly passed the JohsOhio Bill which launched an evaluation of the current Department.
The bill allowed for the creation of a non-profit corporation which would assume some of the …
Policies Released on Brownfield Loan Program
The Ohio Department of Development working with the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) has released their policies for use of the revamped low interest brownfield loan program. Under the program, private companies (among others) can get a low interest loan up to $500,000 for performing sampling (assessment) and up to $5 million for clean up.
Ohio EPA Budget Testimony Sheds Light on New Initiatives
On April 5th, Ohio EPA Director Nally testified on the Agency’s proposed budget before the House Finance and Appropriations – Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee. According to the Director’s Testimony, Ohio EPA is not asking for any fee increases. Ohio EPA’s proposed budget calls for a reduction of 11.8% for fiscal year 2012 and 13.8% …
Clean Ohio Program Ends 2012…What’s Next?
In 2000, Ohio originally voted to approve the Clean Ohio Fund as a $400 million dollar bond program. In 2008, the Clean Ohio Fund was reauthorized through a ballot initiative known as Issue 2. The ballot initiative was overwhelmingly approved in all 88 counties which extended the Fund with another $400 million dollars.
Clean Ohio is probably the most…
JobsOhio and Clean Ohio
The Governor’s top legislative priority is the privatization of the State’s economic development functions. House Bill 1, known as "JobsOhio", has been introduced and a vote in the Senate may come yet this week.
The Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) plays a critical role in the administration of the Clean Ohio program which provides millions in…
Ohio EPA + ODNR?
Ohio is facing a $8 billion dollar budget gap. Governor-elect Kasich has stressed the need to streamline state government as part of solving the budget crisis as well as making government more efficient.
During his campaign he already announced one very creative proposal to eliminate the Ohio Dept. of Development. Could an idea being tested in other states- combining State environmental programs-be a proposal worth considering in Ohio?
Good in Theory?
A brief overview of the current state structure suggests combining responsibilities would gain efficiencies. Similar functions and staff with similar capabilities are spread across five different state agencies.
Combining functions and potentially agencies could benefit those organizations. Greater efficiency is not only good for business, its good for agencies that are constantly fighting for funding to support their programs.
The counter argument is that combining large government agencies you run the danger of creating even a larger bureaucracy. Not only could there be even more layers of management the organization could become too large to effectively manage.
An Overview of the Current Ohio Structure
Most environmental regulatory functions are split between the Ohio EPA and the Dept. of Natural Resources. However, there are clean up, regulatory and grant programs related to the environment spread across a total of five different state agencies.
Here is just a quick look at various functions that have commonalities and are divided up between multiple agencies.
Brownfield Redevelopment and Clean Up
- Clean Ohio Program- divided between Ohio Dept. of Development and Ohio EPA
Federal Water Pollution Permitting Programs
- Combined Animal Feeding Operations NPDES (Clean Water Act) permit program- Department of Agriculture
- NPDES (Clean Water Act) permit program- Ohio EPA
Litter and Recycling
- Division of Soil & Water Resources (Previously Divisions of Soil & Water Conservation and Division of Recycling & Litter Prevention)- ODNR
- Division of Solid Waste Management (manages Solid Waste Management District recycling efforts)- Ohio EPA
- Environmental Review Program (Wetlands)- ODNR
- Division of Surface Water (401 and Isolated Wetlands Permitting)- Ohio EPA
Ground Water Management
- Ground water well information (within Division of Soil & Water Resources)- ODNR
- Division of Drinking and Ground Waters- Ohio EPA
Surface Water and Lake Erie
- Soil and Water Conservation programs – ODNR
- Coastal Zone Management Program – ODNR
- Great Lake Compact Program (Under development)- ODNR
- Lake Erie grants program- Lake Erie Commission
- Surface water Lake Erie Unit- Ohio EPA
- Surface water regulatory and permitting programs- Ohio EPA
Underground Storage Tanks
- Bureau of Underground Storage Tanks (BUSTR)- regulation and clean up of releases of hazardous substances from USTs- Dept. of Commerce
- Clean up of hazardous substances un-related to USTs- Ohio EPA
Diesel Engine Grant Programs
Diesel Emission Reduction Programs
- Diesel Emission Reduction Grant Program- Ohio Dept. of Development
- School bus diesel emission grant program- Ohio EPA
The list of similar functions spread across multiple agencies is probably longer. In addition to similar regulatory functions, each of these agencies maintain their own Information Technology Offices, HR, Motor Pools, Facilities Management, Press Offices and Director’s Offices. Combining support offices could also gain efficiencies.
Not a Budget Fix
After modifications to its funding strategy, Ohio EPA utilizes no general revenue funds to support its programs. ODNR has substantially reduced its reliance on GRF. So combining agencies is not going to do much to fix the $8 billion dollar budget hole.
However, both agencies (as well as the other three agencies) assess multiple fees to business to support their programs. These fees have regularly been increased to support rising human resource expenses within the Agencies. Fees, while imposing costs on businesses, have traditionally not received the same political attention as GRF.
While streamlining and combining functions may not solve the $8 billion budget hole, it could avoid or reduce the need to raise fees on businesses.
For a discussion of what has occurred in other states…continue reading.…