UPDATED — US EPA must restore Ohio’s air nuisance rule

UPDATEA link has been added to the petition calling for restoration of the air nuisance rule.

The Ohio federal state implementation plan (SIP) gave all Ohioans — for 50 years — a tool to use to stop air pollution in their neighborhoods. This tool, called the Air Nuisance Rule, was particularly important because it allowed the victims of pollution to send a letter about air problems and gave the governments and the polluter 60 days to fix the problem. If it was not fixed in 60 days, the community members could go directly to court to enforce the environmental laws that protect our health and environment. This rule was especially important because – in addition to stopping the pollution, the community members attorney’s fees and costs would be paid by the polluter. This made it possible for residents to be able to financially afford to enforce the law.

This rule 3745-15-07, said the following:

(A) The emission or escape into the open air from any source or sources whatsoever, of smoke, ashes, dust, dirt, grime, acids, fumes, gases, vapors, or any other substances or combinations of substances, in such manner or in such amounts as to endanger the health, safety or welfare of the public, or cause unreasonable injury or damage to property, is hereby found and declared to be a public nuisance. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause, permit or maintain any such public nuisance.

(B) The emission or escape into the open air from any source or sources of odors whatsoever that is subject to regulation under Chapter 3745-17, 3745-18, 3745-21, or 3745-31 of the Administrative Code and is operated in such a manner to emit such amounts of odor as to endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the public, or cause unreasonable injury or damage to property, is hereby found and declared to be a public nuisance. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause, permit or maintain any such public nuisance.

US EPA, at the request of an attorney for a polluter, took this regulation away from us one day after Ohio’s first COVID shutdown and Sierra Club and Ohioans have been working through the federal court to overturn US EPA’s decision. In February this year, we won an important victory; we beat US EPA, Ohio EPA, and the industries that were trying to get the rule changed.

The Court ruled that US EPA erroneously removed the rule and must act quickly to address this.

We now have a chance to get the air nuisance rule back into our federal SIP and allow people affected by pollution to force polluters to clean up.

We need your help. We need to send a message from people across the state to US EPA that we want the rule put back in place. Please consider signing our petition and asking others to do the same.

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