Legislature agrees on changes to Ohio Livestock Environmental Permitting Program
Bill establishes time limits for township and county infrastructure review
A bill approved by the Ohio General Assembly proposes limiting the amount of time county and township officials have for recommending local infrastructure needs for the operation or expansion of a Concentrated Animal Feeding Facility (CAFF). Both the House and Senate have approved H.B. 22, sponsored by Rep. Buchy (R-77). The bill now awaits action by Governor Kasich.
Recently introduced on May 17, 2011, H.B. 22 proposes a 75 day time limit for county commissioners and township trustees to provide final recommendations for improvements to local infrastructure that are needed to accomodate a CAFF. Notification by the CAFF to the county and township is a required step in the Livestock Environmental Permitting Program (LEPP) permit application process. Information on anticipated traffic routes and number and weights of vehicles must accompany the notification. Under current law, the county and township must next provide initial recomendations to the CAFF for needed infrastructure improvements. The CAFF may accept the recommendations or may propose an alternative, and the county and township must then render written final recommendations for infrastructure improvements. The CAFF must submit the county and township's final recommendations in its LEPP permit application.
Under the language agreed to by the legislature in H.B. 22, if the county or township fails to provide the written final recommendations in 75 days, the CAFF may proceed with the permit application by submiting an affidavit in lieu of the written final recommendations. The affidavit must state that the CAFF provided the required notification but did not receive written final recommendations from the county or township within 75 days of giving the notification.
The legislature's approval of H.B. 22 comes in the wake of a controversial denial of a LEPP permit application by Hi-Q for an egg laying facility in Union County. ODA Director Zehringer denied Hi-Q's application because it did not contain the required final infrastructure recommendations from county and township officials. Hi-Q and Union County had reached an impasse on infrastructure issues, and Hi-Q submitted the permit without any final recommendations by the county. (See our earlier post on the Director's decision.) Under H.B. 22's language, Hi-Q could have submitted an affidavit instead of the written final recommendations because more than 75 days had passed since Hi-Q's original notification to the county and township. The Director thus would not have had to deny the permit application for lack of county and township written final recommendations for infrastructure improvements.
H.B. 22 also proposes changing LEPP from a program to a Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting, and contains a number of other revisions to ODA programs and regulations. See the analysis of H.B. 22 on the Ohio Legislature's website.