SWANA National monitors federal legislative and regulatory activity to keep members informed of issues pertinent to the municipal solid waste industry.
The goal of SWANA’s advocacy program is to represent the interests of the solid waste profession by being a proactive advocate of environmentally and economically sound solid waste legislation and regulations.
The Association’s advocacy efforts are focused on three major fronts:
Legislative and Regulatory Monitoring
SWANA monitors federal legislative and regulatory activity to keep our members informed of issues pertinent to the municipal solid waste industry. We compile two quarterly reports on US litigation U.S. legislation and regulatory actions.
SWANA monitors all pertinent regulatory changes to the solid waste industry. Our advocacy program depends on the efforts of our members to provide input to federal agencies and other entities to guide their rulemaking. We look to our 7 Technical Divisions and their respective committees to provide information and supply comments on upcoming rules and regulations.
Legislation to Advance SWANA’s Mission
SWANA works with outside groups, coalitions, legislators, and agencies to advance our legislative goals. Regular advocacy, which is carried out within the established SWANA advocacy budget, involves the more routine response to actions or proposals from the EPA, Environment Canada, and other federal agencies. Special advocacy, which generally requires a specific allocation of resources or targeted fund raising, involves more resource intensive efforts over a longer term.
On July 30, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed legislation, SB 127, that requires drivers to slow down and safely change lanes when approaching solid waste and recycling vehicles. Ohio is now the 21st state to pass this legislation, commonly known as Slow Down to Get Around (SDTGA).
The NWRA Ohio Chapter worked with key stakeholders to develop the bill, which was sponsored by Ohio State Senator Frank LaRose, chairman of the Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee.
A ceremonial bill signing is expected later this year. The law will take effect October 28.
This legislation resembles other “Slow Down to Get Around” laws that have recently been enacted around the country. This law includes waste and recycling collection vehicles in the state’s existing “Move Over Law”. This means drivers will have to slow down to pass collection vehicles on the road, or change lanes when possible, if those vehicles are stopped with flashing, oscillating, or rotating lights. Violation of the Move Over Law is currently a minor misdemeanor, with more serious misdemeanor classifications for drivers that have received past violations. Starting fines for a minor misdemeanor in Ohio are $150 and escalate to $500, with potential jail time, for subsequent instances.
Slow Down to Get Around is a major priority for both the National Waste & Recycling Association and the Solid Waste Association of North America, and the two groups worked together on this Ohio bill. The Slow Down program was initially developed by NWRA, McNeilus and Ohio-based service provider Rumpke in 2013. The unanimous vote, and the fact that this bill had 25 co-sponsors in a 32-member legislative body, make it likely that S.B. 127 could eventually be signed into law by Gov. John Kasich.
This makes Ohio the 17th state to pass some form of Slow Down law, following: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Similar legislation has also been introduced in other states.
Under the Senate Bill 2, the Ohio EPA director would give the State the same federal powers, so the State could waive, transfer or revoke a permit if regulations were not followed. The bill would also require the state director to create and oversee a program that would certify professionals to “assess streams and categorize wetlands” before water quality certifications are issued. The bill gives more teeth to dredging requirements by saying anyone who “purposefully” violates is a felony.
Construction and Demolition Debris Processing Facilities
Over the past several years, a large number of illegal construction and demolition debris (C&DD) disposal sites have begun operating under the premise of “processing” C&DD materials to then be resold, an activity that is currently unregulated in Ohio. However, many times in these instances the material is being collected and then abandoned, leaving local communities and the state to bear the cost of cleanup and mitigation of potential hazards. S.B. 2 will establish regulatory oversight of C&DD processing facilities to ensure these materials are properly managed and disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.
To strengthen the Ohio EPA’s ability to evaluate and clean up abandoned landfills, S.B. 2 will clarify the agency’s authority to – among other things – gain site access, conduct investigations, and take samples at these sites.
Public, community water systems
The bill would require all public water systems in Ohio to show their capabilities by creating an asset management program by October 2018. The programs require specific information, including an inventory of all assets and a long-term funding strategy.