Time to cut red tape, state rep says

Larry Limpf


State Representative Scott Wiggam is pushing to reduce red tape that he says hampers small businesses.
The House Agriculture and Conservation Committee heard testimony last week on House Bill 464, which would eliminate the asset management reporting requirements for businesses.
The reporting requirements were developed through rulemaking authority given to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in 2017. Under the requirements, private businesses that supply water to the public must file documentation of inventory and evaluation of all assets, an operation and maintenance program, emergency preparedness and contingency plan, criteria and timelines for infrastructure replacement, capacity projections and capital improvement planning and a long-term funding strategy to implement the asset management program.
Rep. Wiggam said the added bureaucracy of the reporting requirements doesn’t increase safety and only adds costs to small businesses.
“This program is not needed and it places an unnecessary burden and an over regulation of small, privately owned businesses,” he said when he introduced the bill earlier this year. “Privately owned businesses should not have to submit financial and budgeting information to the Ohio EPA.”
Under current law, private businesses that have a public water source can be fined up to $25,000 each day for non-compliance and owners can be jailed up to four years.
Jeff Hoffman, of the Ohio Campground Owners Association, Inc., provided proponent testimony on the bill to the committee.
He said OCOA members operate small water systems as part of their operations.
“We believe that when the law was passed to create the asset management program the intended entities for compliance were the publicly owned and operated water systems,” he said. “However, the law defines public water systems much more broadly and captures many water systems that are privately owned, but services our customers, i.e. members of the public. Our campgrounds do not receive any public funds to operate our water systems.
“Eliminating the asset management program does not absolve our members with water systems from complying with all water quality laws. Nor does eliminating this administrative requirement remove Ohio EPA’s authority from shutting down our systems or requiring us to mitigate any water quality issues. HB 464 would simply remove unneeded paperwork and an administrative requirement.”


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