COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State regulation of streams that flow temporarily after rainfall will be restricted under legislation signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.
Construction companies, the mining industry and other business groups say removing so-called ephemeral streams from regulation would make Ohio’s practice consistent with federal law.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency created a permitting system for development projects affecting ephemeral streams after the government removed them from federal oversight in 2020 and left their regulation up to states.
The EPA says about 36,500 miles of the state’s 115,200 miles of primary headwater streams are ephemeral streams. DeWine signed the bill last week, saying it strikes a balance between protecting state waterways and providing consistency in state regulations to support economic development.
Environmental groups largely opposed the legislation, saying the streams play an important role in maintaining water quality. They also questioned why Ohio would remove the streams from regulation at the same time it’s spending millions to improve water quality under DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative.