3745.22 Environmental education fund.

(A) As used in this section, "eligible institution of higher education" means any of the state universities listed in section 3345.011 of the Revised Code, or a community college, technical college, university branch, state community college, or an institution that is nonprofit and holds a certificate of authorization issued under section 1713.02 of the Revised Code.

(B) There is hereby created in the state treasury the environmental education fund consisting of moneys credited to the fund pursuant to sections 3704.06 and 6111.09 of the Revised Code and any gifts, grants, or contributions received by the director of environmental protection for the purposes of the fund. The fund shall be administered by the director with the advice and assistance of the environmental education council created in section 3745.21 of the Revised Code. Moneys in the fund shall be used exclusively to develop, implement, and administer a program to enhance public awareness and the objective understanding within this state of issues affecting environmental quality. Toward that end, moneys in the fund may be used for purposes that include, without limitation, developing elementary and secondary school and collegiate curricula on environmental issues; providing training for this state's elementary and secondary school teachers on environmental issues; providing educational seminars for concerned members of the public regarding the scientific and technical aspects of environmental issues; providing educational seminars regarding pollution prevention and waste minimization for persons regulated by the environmental protection agency; providing educational seminars for persons regulated by the environmental protection agency, including, without limitation, small businesses, regarding the regulatory requirements of the agency and the means of achieving and maintaining compliance with them; and providing one or more scholarships in environmental sciences or environmental engineering for students enrolled at an eligible institution of higher education.

The director may expend not more than one million five hundred thousand dollars of the moneys credited to the environmental education fund under sections 3704.06 and 6111.09 of the Revised Code in any fiscal year for the purposes specified in this division. The director may request authority from the controlling board to expend any moneys credited to that fund in any fiscal year in excess of that amount.

(C) Not later than the first day of April each year, the director, with the advice and assistance of the council, shall prepare and submit to the governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives an environmental education agenda that describes the proposed uses of the environmental education fund during the following fiscal year. Prior to submitting the agenda the director, in conjunction with the council, shall hold a public hearing in Franklin county to receive comments on the agenda. After the public hearing and before submitting the agenda to the governor, the president, and the speaker, the director, with the advice and assistance of the council, may make any modifications to the agenda that the director considers appropriate based upon the comments received at the public hearing.

(D) Not later than the first day of September each year, the director, with the advice and assistance of the council, shall prepare and submit to the governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives a report on the revenues credited to and expenditures from the environmental education fund during the immediately preceding fiscal year.

Effective Date: 06-06-2001