Office of Legal Services

Legal Services

Our office provides general counsel to Ohio EPA’s divisions and districts and evaluates, prepares and negotiates administrative enforcement actions. Agency attorneys prepare trade secret claim determinations; prepare and review contracts; assist in the development or review of legislation and rules; and address public records request issues.

 

Weekly Review and Public Notices

Each week, the Ohio EPA Weekly Review provides a county-by-county listing of public notices in alphabetical order by county. Most of Ohio EPA's public notices are contained in this listing.

Defining Trade Secrets

Ohio Revised Code Section 1333.61(D) defines trade secrets as:

“…[I]nformation, including the whole or any portion or phase of any scientific or technical information, design, process, procedure, formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or improvement, or any business information or plans, financial information, or listing of names, addresses, or telephone numbers, that satisfies both of the following:

(1) It derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use.

(2) It is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.”

Ohio EPA does not have the authority to bestow trade secret status on records that do not constitute trade secrets. Ohio Revised Code 3734.12(G) merely authorizes the Ohio EPA to ensure “only that ‘all information entitled to trade secret protection as trade secrets’ be accorded confidential status” State ex. rel. Lucas Cty. Bd. of Commrs. v. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, 88 Ohio St.3d 166, 171, 724 N.E.2d 411 (2000). 

Required Documents

Ohio Administrative Code 3745-49-03(A) makes it clear that the burden of establishing entitlement to trade secret protection is upon the party requesting that protection.

 

In order to assert a trade secret claim, you shall, at the time of the submission of the underlying documents, submit to Ohio EPA:

  • An unredacted copy (identified as such) of the underlying documents, with each page numbered consecutively from beginning to end;
  • A proposed public copy (identified as such) of the underlying documents, with each page numbered consecutively from beginning to end (a copy of the underlying documents with the trade secret information redacted or otherwise removed);
  • A statement that describes each item of information for which trade secret protection is claimed, and that identifies the location of each item in the underlying documents; and
  • A sworn or affirmed signature, attesting that the statements made in the submission are true and accurate.

Required Detail

In addition, you must explain in sufficient detail, with reference to the specific page number in the underlying documents, the following:

  • The nature of the information for which you are seeking protection (i.e. scientific or technical information, design, process, procedure, formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or improvement, or any business information or plans, financial information, or listing of names, addresses, or telephone number);
  • How the information derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use;
  • The efforts used to maintain its secrecy; and
  • An attestation that the information is not generally known outside of your organization or otherwise discoverable in other public documentation.