3745.017 Program for providing compliance and pollution prevention assistance to regulated entities.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Environmental law" means a law that is administered by the environmental protection agency.

(2) "Regulated entity" means an entity that is regulated under an environmental law.

(B)

(1) The director of environmental protection may establish within the agency a program for providing compliance and pollution prevention assistance to regulated entities. Services provided under the program may include all of the following:

(a) Establishment of a statewide toll-free telephone hotline to respond to questions about environmental requirements and pollution prevention;

(b) Development and distribution of educational materials regarding environmental requirements and pollution prevention;

(c) Provision of outreach and training on environmental requirements and pollution prevention;

(d) Provision of on-site assistance to regulated entities to help them identify applicable requirements and opportunities for pollution prevention and waste reduction;

(e) Provision of assistance to regulated entities that are small businesses in completing forms and permit applications, including assistance with permit applications pursuant to section 3704.18 of the Revised Code;

(f) Conducting annual surveys to solicit comments and gauge satisfaction from regulated entities that have sought assistance under the program. The director shall utilize solicited comments for the purpose of improving outreach and assistance.

(g) Additional services that the director determines are necessary to assist regulated entities.

(2) The director may assign employees of the agency to administer the program and assist in providing the services specified in division (B)(1) of this section.

(C) Except as provided in division (D) of this section, information obtained or created by employees of the agency who administer the program when providing any of the services specified in division (B)(1) of this section shall be held confidential unless any of the following applies:

(1) The information reveals a clear and immediate danger to the environment and to the health, safety, or welfare of the public.

(2) The information is obtained independently by the director or the director's authorized representatives as part of a compliance inspection, record review, investigation, or enforcement proceeding by the agency.

(3) The information is emissions data or other information concerning which holding the information as either confidential business information or trade secrets is expressly prohibited pursuant to the federal Clean Air Act as defined in section 3704.01 of the Revised Code, the federal Water Pollution Control Act as defined in section 6111.01 of the Revised Code, or another applicable federal law.

(4) The information is otherwise required by state or federal law to be disclosed publicly or made available to a government agency.

(D) When information has been submitted by a regulated entity to a division or office of the agency as part of a permit application, required report, or notification or to comply with any other regulatory reporting requirement, that information shall not be considered confidential by other divisions or offices of the agency unless it is determined to be a trade secret as defined in section 1333.61 of the Revised Code.

(E) No information that is submitted to, acquired by, or exchanged with employees of the agency who administer or provide services under the program that is authorized to be established under this section and that is confidential pursuant to division (C) of this section shall be used in any manner for the purpose of the enforcement of any requirement established in an environmental law or used as evidence in any judicial or administrative enforcement proceeding.

(F) Nothing in this section confers immunity on persons from enforcement that is based on information that is obtained by the director or the director's authorized representatives who are not employees of the agency who administer or provide services under the program that is authorized to be established under this section.

Cite as R.C. § 3745.017

History. Added by 129th General AssemblyFile No.115, SB 294, §1, eff. 9/5/2012.