The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has amended Ontario Regulation 419/05: Air
Pollution, Local Air Quality to make the process of seeking
exceptions to generic criteria less punitive and more useful to
businesses. The process has been given a new name,
"Site-specific Standard", and is now focussed on best
available technology (and economic considerations only if
requested), instead of requiring a company to plead economic
constraints. It is yet to be seen if the process will be as
expensive and frustrating as the risk-based process for
contaminated sites; we know it will take 15 months.
Minimum Duration of a Site-specific Standard
The amendments allow facilities to use a site-specific air
standard for a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years.
Previously, the limit was up to five years or up to 10 years in
"extenuating circumstances", far too short to justify
many kinds of capital investments.
Renewal without a public meeting
MOE has simplified the site-specific standard renewal process by
allowing facilities that have already received an approval for a
site-specific standard (and are making a subsequent request) to
waive the requirement for hosting a public meeting if there are no
significant changes to their original request. However, public
notification and comments will still be required through the
Environmental Registry posting. If the technical review reveals
there are significant changes, the MOE could require a public
meeting to be held.
A facility will be expected to submit their request for a
renewal at least 15 months before a technical review is required of
their approval. This will allow the MOE an opportunity to determine
whether or not there have been any significant changes that should
be considered and determine the need for a public meeting in
addition to the EBR posting.
Update of Guidance Documents
In addition to the above, the MOE plans to update its guidance
documents to reflect the amendments to the regulation as well to
provide more clarity regarding the site-specific standard process.
For example, the "Guideline for the Implementation of Air
Standards in Ontario" (GIASO) and the "Guide to
Requesting an Alternative Standard" (GRAS) will be updated to
include suggested factors to consider in setting a site-specific
standard for a facility that is more than 5 years in duration and
suggestions on how to determine best available technology in
particular when business is planning for a new facilities or an
expansion of an existing facility. MOE guidance will also be
updated to reflect our goal that decisions on site-specific
standards are to be made within a 15-month period.
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
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