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We can support one proposed amendment to regulation 419/05: the concept of creating a Technical Standard for Industrial Sectors, as proposed by Section 32.1. It should create a more level playing field, be less costly to regulate and improve compliance. But the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) could, and should, give such Technical Standards a much bigger role in the regulation of air emissions in Ontario.

The Site Specific Standard process of Section 32 is not a satisfactory alternative to a sector-based technical standard. The s.32 process is very expensive, very time-consuming, must be repeated frequently, and provides only a short-term alternative to the obstacles of section 11. The public is likely to understand the section 32 process as a facility trying to get away with something, whereas sector-based regulations simply set appropriate standards for a particular industry. For the company and investors, the temporary nature of the site-specific standard puts uncertainty into investment and development.

Our concerns:

  • Registration under Section 32.4 requires that the Director be “satisfied” that no adverse effect will result. If, to “satisfy” the Director on this point, the facility must perform an ESDM in accordance with section 11, to demonstrate that it meets the proposed new POI Standard, facilities will not gain any benefit from registering under Section 32.1.[1]
  • On August 18, SDB was soliciting support for using the Technical Standard process to replace individual CofAs for the contaminant and Sector, relying on the inspection process to ensure that facilities are in compliance. This is inappropriate if the Standard is to be time limited. When the Standard expired, the facility would be required to seek a fresh CofA, a much more difficult and expensive process than maintaining its existing approval.

Our recommendations:

  • Because of the many difficulties associated with section 11, Sector Technical Standards should be the primary, long-term means of complying with Regulation 419, which a facility can avoid if it meets the standard in the applicable Schedule or opts for a site-specific standard.
  • Technical Standards should be available for all sectors, on request, regardless of the number of facilities presently in operation in Ontario. Otherwise, this regulation could significantly discourage new players and new industries from entering the Ontario economy.
  • A Technical Standard should be permitted for classes of processes, cutting across industrial sectors, making the technology standards more rational and widely applicable . Many processes and control options are the same across sectors.
  • Existing facilities should not be required to give up their certificate of approval (CofA) when they register for a Sector Technical Standard. However, they should be entitled to have their CofA amended to comply with the Sector Technical Standard, on request.
  • Facilities that register under s.32.1 must not be required to perform an  Emission Summary Dispersion Model in accordance with section 11, to demonstrate that they meet the proposed new  Point of Impingement (POI) Standard.

[1] When asked about this at the August 18 meeting, Cathy Grant indicated that the actual wording is “The Director is of the opinion that discharges of the contaminant from the facility into the air will not cause an adverse effect if section 32.1 applies to the facility and the contaminant”. This presumes that the Director can declare that there is no adverse effect and that this determination cannot be challenged. However, there are an increasing number of cases where the Director is in fact being challenged about such assessments.

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