Proposed Waste Regulation under the Environmental Assessment Act Published

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has published a draft regulation with an incorporated guide under the Environmental Assessment Act to provide an environmental assessment process for activities at certain waste disposal sites in Ontario.  It purports to make improvements to the process to assess waste disposal sites, including achieving the same level of environmental protection but in a more efficient manner and providing for “clarity, consistency and timeliness of process for the assessment of certain activities at waste disposal sites” which is necessary for investment in waste management infrastructure.  The EBR posting and associated links to the draft regulation and guide can be found by clicking The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has published a draft regulation with an incorporated guide under the Environmental Assessment Act to provide an environmental assessment process for activities at certain waste disposal sites in Ontario.  It purports to make improvements to the process to assess waste disposal sites, including achieving the same level of environmental protection but in a more efficient manner and providing for “clarity, consistency and timeliness of process for the assessment of certain activities at waste disposal sites” which is necessary for investment in waste management infrastructure.  The EBR posting and associated links to the draft regulation and guide can be found by clicking http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envregistry/028964er.htm. 

In short, there will be 3 ways of dealing with the assessment of waste disposal sites: (1) some projects, such as the establishment of a new large landfill site, will be subject to the full EAA process; (2) certain projects will be subject to the EAA, but exempt from an individual EA and approval, provided that the activity is examined through a self-assessment process, known as the Environmental Screening Process; and (3) certain activities are designated as subject to the EAA but exempt from the EA process (projects demonstrated over the years to have minimal environmental impact). 

The new screening process is for those sites designated under the EAA but have “predictable environmental impacts that can be readily mitigated through standard mitigation measures.”  These include construction or expansion of a mid-size landfill, construction of or modifications to thermal degradation sites that convert waste into a useable form of energy or small thermal degradation sites without an energy to waste component.  The screening process is a proponent-driven self-assessment process which includes an emphasis on public consultation and enables a request to be made to elevate the project to an individual EA.

As well, private sector projects which meet the regulatory criteria (based on size or type) will be subject to the Act, rather than the existing system of designating private sector projects. . 

In short, there will be 3 ways of dealing with the assessment of waste disposal sites: (1) some projects, such as the establishment of a new large landfill site, will be subject to the full EAA process; (2) certain projects will be subject to the EAA, but exempt from an individual EA and approval, provided that the activity is examined through a self-assessment process, known as the Environmental Screening Process; and (3) certain activities are designated as subject to the EAA but exempt from the EA process (projects demonstrated over the years to have minimal environmental impact). 

The new screening process is for those sites designated under the EAA but have “predictable environmental impacts that can be readily mitigated through standard mitigation measures.”  These include construction or expansion of a mid-size landfill, construction of or modifications to thermal degradation sites that convert waste into a useable form of energy or small thermal degradation sites without an energy to waste component.  The screening process is a proponent-driven self-assessment process which includes an emphasis on public consultation and enables a request to be made to elevate the project to an individual EA.

As well, private sector projects which meet the regulatory criteria (based on size or type) will be subject to the Act, rather than the existing system of designating private sector projects. 

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