Comment re: Amendments to Ontario Regulation 419/05: Local Air Quality, including Sector-Based Approach to Regulation
September 8, 2009
Engineering Specialist, Air Standards & Risk Management
Ministry of the Environment
Environmental Sciences and Standards Division, Development Branch
40 St. Clair Avenue West, Floor 7
Toronto, ON M4V 1M2
CC: Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
The Honourable John Gerretsen, Ontario Minister of the Environment
Regulation 419/05 was promulgated under Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act in 2005 to set air pollution limits for polluting facilities. To protect against health and environmental effects, the regulation sets limits on the emission of potentially harmful contaminants, including toluene, phosphoric acid, lead, mercury, lithium, and trichloroethylene.
If a facility cannot meet the standard set in Regulation 419/05 within the stated time-frame, it must apply to the Ministry of the Environment (“the Ministry”) for a site-speciﬁc, and potentially contaminant-speciﬁc, exemption to the law. When the Ministry receives a request to create a site-speciﬁc alteration to a standard, it decides whether to issue the exemption on the basis of technical or economic information provided by the company, including: an Emissions Summary and Dispersion Modeling (ESDM) report; a Technology Benchmarking Report; an Economic Feasibility Analysis (optional); a summary of pre-consultation with local stakeholders; and an action plan to implement and monitor progress.
In summary, companies subject to Regulation 419/05 have two options:
Comply with the air standard(s) in the regulation by the dates speciﬁed, or
Ask the MOE to approve a site-speciﬁc altered standard for their facility based on the technical or economic reason they cannot comply with the regulation.
The proposed amendment to the regulation would allow companies to choose a third
Comply with technical standards for their speciﬁc sector, such as metal mining or forestry. If this option is taken, the standards in Regulation 419/05 no longer apply to the facility.
As the Ministry’s website says, “Ontario Regulation 419/05, Air Pollution - Local Air Quality (O.Reg 419/05) is the cornerstone of the ministry’s efforts to protect local air quality”.1 In LOW’s view, the proposed amendments to the regulation undermine the signiﬁcant effort that the Ministry devoted to creating effective air emissions regulations in this province as recently as 2005. The proposed changes would weaken a strong law, reducing transparency, accountability, and public participation in environmental decision-making. Such a change would constitute a shameful “back door” style of legislative change with potentially harmful consequences for people and the environment.
Read the entire submission to the Ministry of the Environment here.