Renewable Energy Approvals Regime Comes Into Force
On September 24, 2009, the renewable energy approvals sections
of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009 and the
related regulations (including O. Reg. 359/09) came into force. As
part of the Ontario government's effort to streamline the
approval process for renewable energy projects (e.g., wind, solar
and biomass facilities), renewable energy approvals (REAs) will
replace several environmental permits, including certificates of
approvals for air, sewage systems, waste disposal sites and waste
management systems and permits to take water. To obtain a REA,
applicants must provide specified information that incorporates
considerations previously addressed under the Environmental
Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act and
the Ontario Water Resources Act. Any third party may
challenge the issuance of a REA or its terms and conditions on the
grounds that the project will cause serious harm to human health or
serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the
natural environment. The Environmental Review Tribunal then has six
months to assess whether such grounds have been in fact been
established. Transitional mechanisms exist for renewable energy
projects that had already reached specified stages of the approvals
process before September 24, 2009.
On September 18, 2009, a draft regulation was introduced under
Ontario's Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 (the Act). The
regulation would designate as "toxic" acetone (adopted
from O. Reg. 127/01 made under Ontario's Environmental
Protection Act) and the substances listed in Schedule 1 of the
National Pollutant Release Inventory Notice (under the Canadian
Environmental Protection Act, 1999). It is also proposed that
the prescribed list of toxic substances would, if amended, include
any other toxic substance that the Ministry prescribes from time to
time. In addition, the draft regulation prescribes the class of
facilities that would be subject to the requirements of the Act,
establishes toxic substance and employee thresholds, requires that
facilities identify and describe the processes that involve toxic
substances, requires that toxic substance plans be prepared and
reviewed, and sets certain public disclosure requirements.
The Ministry of the Environment is accepting comments on the
draft regulation until October 19, 2009.
Bill 185, the Environmental Protection Amendment Act
(Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading), 2009, gives the government
the power to implement a greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme,
by authorizing the making of regulations relating to emissions
trading, other economic instruments and market-based approaches.
Bill 185 had its second reading debate on September 14, 15 and 29,
2009 before being carried and ordered to the Standing Committee on
General Government for review.
Amendments are proposed to the PCB Regulations, enacted
under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999,
which came into force on September 5, 2008. The proposed amendments
would allow the on-site destruction of PCBs in accordance with
provincial and territorial requirements, thereby providing
additional flexibility to regulated entities. The proposed
amendments also respond to inconsistencies in reporting
requirements and requests for greater clarity between the English
and French versions of the regulatory text. The proposed amendments
would not change the deadlines for the final destruction of
U.S. Second Circuit court allows climate change nuisance
On September 21, 2009, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals of
Connecticut released its decision in the matter of State of
Connecticut v. American Electric Power Company Inc., ruling
that U.S. federal courts can decide common law actions that allege
private emitters of greenhouse gases are liable for creating a
public nuisance. For a more detailed discussion of this decision
(including its potential implications), please see Torys'
recent Climate Change Bulletin.
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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