Business fear new Oregon DEQ rules

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AOI Weighs In On Far Reaching DEQ Rules
John Ledger
Associated Oregon Industries

In a far reaching proposal stemming from environmental groups lawsuits, the DEQ is revising its stormwater runoff permitting rules. These permits cover a wide variety of industrial operations that discharge stormwater from their sites to state waters, including manufacturers, transportation companies, scrap yards, landfills, metal plating businesses and timber products industries.

The proposed permitting revisions (1220-Z and 1200-COLS) include extensive and expensive new testing, more monitoring, very stringent standards, all leading to increased control requirements and costs. There are special concerns about the lack of a “permit shield” during a time when legal actions are increasingly seen by some groups as a way to further their agendas or to oppose manufacturing operations generally.

Obviously, this bodes ill for job creation.

The agency has taken comments and will, after consideration of comments and possible further revisions, propose a final rule to the Environmental Quality Commission for adoption.

Rulemakings and some permitting actions are increasingly driven and dominated by environmental activist groups and the federal EPA – an issue of dramatically increasing concern to Oregon’s beleaguered manufacturing base. The ambient water quality standards rules adopted this month – the nations most stringent and largely viewed as impossible to meet given that some limits are set well below background or detachable levels – being an example. In this case, the stormwater rulemaking is again the result of lawsuits, and the final rules will pass through the screen of the settlement agreement negotiated between the agency and environmental groups.

AOI, in addition to being the largest statewide representative of Oregon’s manufacturing community, is the state’s National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) affiliate, and works closely with agencies on all aspects of rule development. You can see the AOI comment package here.