On November 2, 2012, certain amendments to O. Reg. 359/09, the renewable energy approval (REA) regulation, came into force. These amendments make the following changes, among other things:
- They crystallize the noise receptor locations identified in a project proponent’s draft site plan, provided that the proponent submits its REA application within 18 months of the date that the first draft site plan was published. (The period has been extended from six months, but the Ministry of the Environment’s [MOE’s] discretion to grant an extension has been removed.)
- They significantly limit the ability of the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) to "stop the clock" on the prescribed six-month timeline for a REA appeal. Previously, the ERT could adjourn the proceedings, pending the resolution of a related application for judicial review. The Divisional Court may still stay REA appeal proceedings, and the ERT may still adjourn the proceedings if both parties consent or if necessary to secure a fair and just determination on the merits.
- They revise certain requirements of the Natural Heritage Assessment process, including by authorizing the construction, installation or expansion of a transmission or distribution line, or the expansion of an existing transformer station, distribution station or transportation system, within provincially significant southern and coastal wetlands if, among other things, an environmental impact study report is prepared in accordance with Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources’ Natural Heritage Assessment Guide.
For more information, please see Amendments to O. Reg. 359/09.
Jeff Gracer (Partner at Sive, Paget & Riesel)