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Ontario to introduce revised air/noise emissions approvals process for lower-risk facilities in 2017


December 16, 2016
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Dec. 16, 2016 – Ontario is proposing to modernize and simplify the approvals process for air and noise emissions from lower-risk facilities, which it says will result in a “new, quick, convenient process that will save small and medium-sized businesses time.”

In January 2017, following stakeholder and public consultation, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) expects to finalize a new regulation, allowing certain facilities to register their activities related to air and noise emissions on the province’s Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). More than 9,000 facilities will be eligible for registration.

Currently in Ontario, under s.9 of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), any business releasing a contaminant into the natural environment as a result of its activities must receive environmental approval from the MOECC.

Under the proposed regulation, only high risk and/or more complex activities will be required to apply for an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA). This will allow the ministry to continue to focus its resources on high risk or more complex activities that pose greater environmental risks, it says, adding that a faster process will allow more certainty for businesses as they plan for investments to upgrade their facilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the cap and trade program. A modern and efficient approvals process would reduce time and costs involved in implementing low-carbon technologies.

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The Environmental Activity and Sector Registry is an online, risk-based environmental registration system developed in 2011 to streamline the approvals process for lower-risk facilities.

There are a number of systems and facilities that can already register on the EASR including:

• Non-hazardous waste management systems;
• Small ground-mounted solar facilities;
• Commercial printing facilities;
• End-of-life vehicle waste disposal sites;
• Automotive spray paint shops;
• Heating operators;
• Standby emergency power systems; and
• Water takings associated with construction dewatering and road construction.

The ministry will continue to review sectors for potential new EASR candidates.

As of December 1, 2016, the fee associated with rules-based EASRs (e.g. automotive refinishing) increased by 10 per cent to $1,309. The fee will increase a further 10 per cent each year until 2020-2021 when it will cap at $1,916. The fee associated with multiple registration EASRs (short-term project based activities such as water takings) remains at $1,190. The new fee for assessed EASRs, such as for air and noise emissions, will be set at $2,353.

According to the ministry, as of September 2016, more than 5,000 registrations have been filed, saving businesses an estimated $37 million since the EASR was first implemented.

SOURCE Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change