Following the announcement of the Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions, the Government of Canada has published a notice which will allow it to collect information that is essential to the development of the proposed industrial air emissions regulations. On December 8, 2007, pursuant to section 71 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999) (CEPA), the Minister of the Environment published a Notice with respect to reporting of information on air pollutants, greenhouse gases and other substances for the 2006 calendar year (Canada Gazette, Part I, Vol. 141, No. 49, Supplement).
The Notice requires industrial facilities covered by the Notice to provide information on their emissions of air pollutants, greenhouse gases and various other substances. The official purpose of the Notice is to determine whether measures need to be taken to control air pollutants and greenhouse gases, and if so what kind of measures are required. In fact, the federal government’s regulatory intentions have been clear since it announced the Regulatory Framework on April 26, 2007.
II. THE NOTICE
The Notice requires information to be provided on the air emissions of various types of facility, energy and fuel use, inputs and feed stocks, production, cogeneration and pollution prevention measures.
More specifically, the substances covered by the Notice are listed in its Schedule 1: total particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, sulphur oxides and sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, mercury, gaseous ammonia and inorganic fluorides, dioxins and furans, as well as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluoromethane.
III. PERSONS REQUIRED TO REPORT
Persons required to report under the Notice are operators (i.e., persons owning or having charge, management or control) of facilities in any of the following sectors: alumina and aluminium; base metal smelting; cement; chemicals manufacturing, electricity; iron, steel and ilmenite smelting; iron ore pellets; lime; natural gas transmission, distribution and storage; oil sands; petroleum product terminals; petroleum refining; potash, pulp and paper; and upstream oil and gas.
Operators must provide the required information in their possession or which they could reasonably be expected to have in their possession, including estimates based on that information. To facilitate the task of reporting, Schedules 5 to 19 of the Notice are divided by sector and Part 1 of each of the Schedules indicates which operators are affected by the Notice. Part 3 of each of Schedule 5 to 19 specifies the information to be reported by each sector-specific operator. The Schedules are more detailed than the text of the Notice and should be consulted to determine which substances are to be reported on for each type of facility.
Anyone operating facilities that are subject to reporting of information mentioned in the Notice is legally bound to provide any information in his possession on pain of fine or imprisonment.
The Notice requires operators to submit their information for the 2006 calendar year. However, if the year 2006 was an exceptional year, operators may report on the 2005 year as well as on the 2006 year.
Operators have until May 31, 2008 to provide the information required in the Notice. However, upon the application of an operator, the Minister may exercise discretion and extend the time for reporting where warranted.
The Notice does not prescribe methods or reference documents to be used by operators in calculating emissions by their facilities. Operators must simply indicate the methods they use to measure such emissions. The Notice does not prescribe the form of presentation for the results. However, Environment Canada is working on a reporting form which will be optional but which could serve as an appropriate model for purposes of the Notice.
A request in writing pursuant to section 313 of the CEPA that any information provided in response to the Notice be treated as confidential may be submitted along with the report.
On its website, Environment Canada suggests that operators who consider that they are not subject to the Notice file a Declaration of Non-Applicability. There is, however, no legal obligation to make such a declaration.
Finally, the Minister of the Environment will be holding information sessions in various regions of the country to answer operators’ questions.