Energy-intensive manufacturing companies involved in the cement, lime, iron and steel sectors looking to reduce GHG emissions may now take advantage of a new approval process introduced by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). The MOECC recently posted amendments to the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) to facilitate the switch to alternative low-carbon fuels in these sectors.

Alternative low-carbon fuels include non-hazardous, residual wastes left after recyclables have been separated, as well as certain types of biomass, such as agricultural and wood waste. Previously, companies using alternative low-carbon fuels were classified as “waste disposal sites” and were required to obtain an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) under the EPA. Under the new Alternative Low-Carbon Fuels regulation, energy-intensive manufacturing companies wanting to use alternative low-carbon fuels are no longer classified as such and no longer require a “waste disposal site” ECA. In addition, since these sites are no longer considered waste management facilities, the Environmental Screening requirements under the EAA no longer apply. Companies switching to alternative low-carbon fuels will still be required to obtain and comply with ECAs for air emissions and, where applicable, wastewater.

Under the new regulations, proponents are required to consult with the public and provide information about the anticipated emissions and potential effects of the switch to alternative low-carbon fuels prior to submitting an application to the MOECC. Any associated air and wastewater ECAs would also require consultation through the Environmental Registry and be subject to third-party appeals to the Environmental Review Tribunal.