(A) There is hereby created in the Ohio air quality development authority the office of ombudsperson for the small business stationary source technical and environmental compliance assistance program created under section 3704.18 of the Revised Code. The office shall exercise its duties independently of any other state agency.
(B) The governor, with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint the ombudsperson. The ombudsperson shall serve for a term of four years. The person who is appointed to serve as the ombudsperson shall be experienced in management and in working with private enterprise and government entities, knowledgeable in the areas of arbitration and negotiation, experienced in interpreting statutory and regulatory law, and knowledgeable in investigation techniques and procedures, recordkeeping, and report writing. The ombudsperson may be the highest ranking managerial employee of the authority.
(C) The ombudsperson shall do all of the following:
(1) Ensure that the goals of the program are being met;
(2) Conduct independent evaluations of all aspects of the program;
(3) Review the development and implementation of air pollution control requirements that have an impact on small businesses in the state and provide comments and recommendations, as appropriate, to the environmental protection agency and the United States environmental protection agency;
(4) Facilitate and promote the participation of small businesses in the development of rules to be adopted under Chapter 3704. of the Revised Code that affect small businesses;
(5) Aid in the dissemination of information, including air pollution requirements and control technologies, to small businesses and other interested persons;
(6) Provide free, confidential assistance on individual source problems and grievances presented by small businesses;
(7) Aid in investigating and resolving complaints against, and disputes involving, the agency from small businesses;
(8) Refer small businesses to the appropriate specialist in the program from whom they may obtain information and assistance on affordable alternative technologies, process changes, and products and operational methods to help reduce air pollution and accidental releases;
(9) Work with trade associations and small businesses to effect voluntary compliance with the federal Clean Air Act, Chapter 3704. of the Revised Code, and rules adopted under it;
(10) Work with other states to establish a network for sharing information on small businesses and their efforts to comply with the federal Clean Air Act and state and local air pollution control laws;
(11) Seek public and private funding sources that can financially assist small businesses that are in need of moneys to comply with air pollution control laws;
(12) Conduct studies to evaluate the impacts of the federal Clean Air Act on the state's economy, local economies, and small businesses.
(D) There is hereby created in the state treasury the small business ombudsperson fund, which shall consist of moneys transferred to it from the Title V clean air fund created in section 3704.035 of the Revised Code. Moneys in the fund shall be used exclusively for the purposes of this section.
The director of environmental protection and the executive director of the authority annually shall determine the amount of moneys necessary for the operation of the office of the ombudsperson. Thereafter, the director shall request the director of budget and management to, and that director shall, transfer that amount of moneys from the Title V clean air fund to the small business ombudsperson fund.
(E) There is hereby created in the state treasury the small business assistance fund, which shall consist of moneys credited to it under division (K) of section 3745.11 of the Revised Code. The ombudsperson shall use moneys in the fund solely to provide financial assistance to small businesses that have one hundred or fewer employees and that are having financial difficulty complying with the "Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990," 104 Stat. 2399, 42 U.S.C.A. 7401 , and regulations adopted under it.
In accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, the ombudsperson shall adopt rules establishing procedures and requirements governing grants awarded under this division.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.127,HB 487, §101.01, eff. 9/10/2012.
Effective Date: 10-29-1993