The Ministry of the Environment has implemented an Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) as part of its new environmental approvals program, which allows businesses to register prescribed activities in the EASR instead of seeking an Environmental Compliance Approval through the normal application and review process. The EASR is a public, web-based registry system, and is intended for activities that are routine, well understood and have minimal environmental impacts.
Persons who are engaging in a prescribed activity are required to register the activity in the EASR and comply with operating requirements as set out in regulation. These requirements could be comprised of, but not limited to, design requirements, pollution control measures and best management practices in the industry. Persons engaging in a prescribed activity are also required to maintain their registrations with up-to-date information. This will sustain business involvement in discussions about environmental protection and foster a culture of continuous improvement.
To date, activities relating to the following have been prescribed for the purposes of the EASR: automotive refinishing facilities, heating systems and standby power systems. EASR eligibility and operating requirements for these activities are currently set out in O.Reg. 245/11 under the Environmental Protection Act (see Additional Information).
As part of the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry implementation, the Ministry, in consultation with users, will be establishing a fee structure that moves the program towards full cost recovery.
As part of the Ministry’s ongoing work to implement the EASR, additional activities are being evaluated for their potential inclusion. This work involves comprehensive technical analysis and two periods of public consultation to ensure EASR activities are developed in a transparent and science-based manner and that the resulting eligibility and operating requirements are protective of the environment.
The Ministry previously posted technical discussion papers for public consultation, outlining proposed eligibility and operating requirements in respect of the following:
- Printing; waste collection and transport; ready-mix concrete; and concrete products manufacturing (EBR Number: 011-4926, Consultation Period: January 11, 2012 – February 25, 2012)
- Small-scale renewable energy projects (EBR Number: 011-5695, Consultation Period: April 2, 2012 – May 17, 2012)
As a result of comments received with respect to the technical discussion papers previously posted on the Environmental and Regulatory Registries (see Additional Information), the Ministry has decided, at this time, to consult on proposed regulations to allow three additional activities to register in the EASR and proposed changes to the standby power system requirements. The proposed requirements for these activities are summarized below:
- Proposed Regulation for Small Ground-Mounted Solar
The proposed regulation is in response to concerns raised as part of the Ministry of Energy’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Program Two-Year Review. The proposed regulation would require a person to register activities that are prescribed for the purposes of the EASR in respect of solar facilities with a name plate capacity greater than 10 kW and less than or equal to 500 kW. In order to register, facilities will need to meet specific design criteria including, but not limited to, setbacks to noise receptors to account for noise emissions, limiting the size of facility locations and siting criteria to mitigate environmental impacts. The proposed regulation directs solar projects to properties zoned and currently being used for agricultural, industrial, commercial and institutional uses or contaminated industrial, commercial and institutional properties. Various operating requirements are additionally proposed, such as the documentation of routine maintenance and inspections, and environmental complaints.
- Proposed Regulation for Lithographic, Screen and Digital Printing
The proposed regulation would require a person to register activities that are prescribed for the purposes of the EASR in respect of commercial lithographic, screen and digital printers. In order to register activities, a printing facility will need to meet specific design criteria, including limits on printing materials usage and setbacks to the property boundary of the facility to account for air and noise emissions. In addition, the regulation proposes operating requirements such as operating hours for various pieces of equipment and limits on the volatile organic compound content of inks, fountain solutions and other products commonly used in printing processes.
- Proposed Regulation for Non-Hazardous Waste Transportation Systems
The proposed regulation for non-hazardous waste transportation systems would require a person to register activities that are prescribed for the purposes of the EASR in respect of the transportation of specified types of waste. The proposed regulation, along with requirements in Regulation 347 made under the Environmental Protection Act, generally outlines the proposed eligibility and operating requirements put forward in the technical discussion paper related to this sector that was the subject of a previous round of public consultation. While most of the proposed requirements in the technical discussion paper have been implemented in the proposed regulation, the proposal has been modified to exclude the transportation of hazardous waste and liquid industrial waste from eligibility on the basis of the comments received during consultation and the Ministry’s ongoing analysis of this proposal.
Under the proposed regulation, eligible waste management systems would only include the use of a waste transportation vehicle for the collection, handling, transportation and transfer of waste; systems that include waste storage, land application or other types of disposal or processing of waste would not be eligible. The proposed regulation, in conjunction with Regulation 347 made under the Environmental Protection Act, would also require that the waste transportation system meet a number of operating requirements such as design requirements for trucks, mandatory insurance, and record keeping related to complaints, driver training and spills response, among others. Since the proposed regulation works in conjunction with the existing regulatory framework of Regulation 347 made under the Environmental Protection Act, some additional explanatory notes have been attached to this posting in a separate document (see Explanatory Notes under Additional Information). These notes describe in greater detail how the eligibility and operating requirements in the technical discussion paper have been put forward as a regulatory proposal in the context of this existing regulatory framework.
- Proposed Changes to Standby Power System Requirements
The Ministry is also proposing changes to the operating requirements for standby power systems currently in O.Reg. 245/11 based on stakeholder feedback and technical analysis undertaken since October 31, 2011. These changes would not alter current eligibility requirements for standby power systems, but would clarify technical specifics of certain operating requirements. Tier 1 Emission Standards currently referenced in the regulation only apply to compression ignition engines (diesel and bio-diesel) and do not clearly identify the emission limits for natural gas/propane standby power generator units. As a result, a change is proposed to require only diesel and biodeisel units to conform to Tier 1 Emission Standards. A further amendment is proposed that will require that natural gas and propane generator units not discharge more than 9.2 grams of nitrogen oxides per kilowatt hour, thereby clarifying the requirements for generator units that use these types of fuels.
It is also proposed that sound attenuation capable of reducing the sound from the generator unit to a maximum sound pressure level of 75 decibels (A-weighted) at a distance of 7 metres apply to all sizes of generators eligible for the EASR. In addition, generators located inside a building that are capable of meeting the 75 dBA at 7 metres requirement would not be required to provide the acoustical treatments currently identified in the regulation.
Process for Developing Registry Regulations
When developing a regulation to include a new activity on the EASR, the Ministry undertakes a comprehensive technical analysis and consultation process. This process contains the following steps:
- Detailed scoping and technical assessment of activity:
- Engineering analysis
- Risk evaluation and modelling
- Jurisdictional review
- Evaluation of local concerns/complaints and past administrative non-compliance with requirement to obtain an approval
- Development of draft registry requirements
- Public consultation on a technical discussion paper describing draft requirements
- Development of a draft regulation
- Public consultation on a draft regulation (the regulations included in this posting)
- Finalizing of regulation and implementation
It is important to note that while Steps 3 and 5 specifically provide for broad public input through comment on postings on the Environmental and Regulatory Registries, the Ministry is also engaging with interested groups (industry, associations, Aboriginal organizations/communities and technical specialists) to inform each step of the process upon request.
This proposal was posted for a 45 day public review and comment period starting July 25, 2012. Comments were to be received by September 08, 2012.
All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.
Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.
Ministry of the Environment
Environmental Programs Division
Modernization of Approvals Branch
135 St. Clair Avenue West