Canada: Ministry Of The Environment Proposes Reform Of Environmental Approvals Process


Ministry Of The Environment Proposes Reform Of Environmental Approvals Process

Following the enactment of the Open for Business Act (see Torys' bulletin for details), the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has begun identifying certain low-risk activities that will no longer require certain environmental approvals, provided that the activities meet specific requirements and are registered on a proposed database called the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). On January 18, 2011, the MOE published technical reports on certain automotive, comfort heating, printing and standby power generation activities that may qualify for registration on the EASR (and thereby for an exemption from the requirement to obtain an Environmental Compliance Approval, which is the approval that will replace the Certificate of Approval under the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Water Resources Act, when all the Open for Business Act provisions come into force). The technical reports and the MOE's proposal to exempt these activities from the Environmental Compliance Approval requirements are available for public review and comment until March 4, 2011.

For further information, please see the Environmental Registry.

Ontario amends Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulation

The MOE recently issued amendments to the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reporting Regulation (O. Reg. 452/09) and the corresponding guidelines. The amendments simplify the regulation and harmonize its emissions-reporting requirements with those proposed by the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). Most notably, the amendments add a new GHG (nitrogen trifluoride) to the list of covered GHGs; allow the MOE Director to request historical emission data that facilities have already submitted to the federal government; and modify certain emissions quantification methodologies to align with application U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's methodologies.

Notably, covered facilities that commenced operation in 2010 or in a previous calendar year must comply with the amended regulations by reporting their GHG emissions for the 2010 calendar year to the MOE by June 1, 2011.

For further information, please see the Amendments to O. Reg. 452/09.

Renewable Energy Approval fees published

The MOE recently published the list of fees that it will be charging, as of March 15, 2011, for all Renewable Energy Approval (REA) applications. The fee amounts will be based on the class of type and class of renewable energy project applying for the REA.

For the list of fees, please see REA fees.

Ontario Energy Board publishes the sixth edition of environmental guidelines regarding hydrocarbon pipelines and facilities

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) published the sixth edition of Environmental Guidelines for the Location, Construction and Operation of Hydrocarbon Pipelines and Facilities in Ontario (Guidelines). The Guidelines provide direction to applicants preparing the environmental report that must be submitted to the OEB to apply for leave to construct a hydrocarbon pipeline, among other applications. The Guidelines also advise parties making such applications on how to identify, manage and document environmental impacts. The Guidelines are not statutory regulations nor are they a rule or a code issued under the OEB's authority. However, parties who sponsor projects to construct hydrocarbon facilities in Ontario are expected comply with the Guidelines in order to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals required to undertake such construction.

For further information, please see the Guidelines.

New regulation regarding ozone-depleting substances and other halocarbons now in force

Ontario Regulation 463/10 (Ozone Depleting Substances and Other Halocarbons) (the Regulation) came into force on January 1, 2011. The Regulation consolidates the various Ontario regulations relating to the use of ozone-depleting substances and other halocarbons, including certain solvents. In doing so, it revokes Regulation 356 (Ozone Depleting Substances – General); O. Reg. 717/94 (Solvents); O. Reg. 718/94 (Sterilants); O. Reg. 413/94 (Halon Fire Extinguishing Equipment); and O. Reg. 189/94 (Refrigerants).

Like the regulations it replaces, the Regulation prohibits uses of certain halocarbons, including solvents or sterilants. For example, with some exceptions, the Regulation prohibits a person from

i. discharging or permitting the discharge into the natural environment or within a building of

a. a "class 1 ozone-depleting substance" (as defined in the Regulation) or anything that contains this substance, or

b. a solvent or sterilant that contains a "class 2 ozone-depleting substance" (as defined in the Regulation);

ii. making, using, selling, transferring, displaying, transporting, storing or disposing of

a. a class 1 ozone-depleting substance or anything that contains this substance, or

b. a solvent or sterilant that contains a class 2 ozone-depleting substance;

iii. making, selling or transferring any packaging, wrapping or container that is made in a manner that uses a class 1 ozone-depleting substance.

Other key provisions of the Regulation include, generally, restrictions on the use of halon-containing fire extinguishing equipment and prohibitions on the discharge of certain refrigerants.

For further information, please see the Regulation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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