On March 20, 2018, the…

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On March 20, 2018, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) posted Regulatory Amendments related to air emissions of SO2 and other items. These amendments, which will take effect on July 1, 2023, included:

- lower 1-hr air standard of 100ug/M3 of SO2 for protection of human health, and
- an annual average air standard of 10 ug/M3 for protection of vegetation.

As well, the new SO2 reg announced lower Upper Risk Thresholds (URTs); the new URTs will be phased in on January 1, 2019:

- 1hr URT of 690 ug/M3 for SO2 for facilities where section 20 applies
- 1/2 hr URT of 830 ug/M3 for SO2 for facilities where section 19 applies.

In addition, the new regulation specifically referenced Transitional Operating Conditions (TOC). The regulation specified that:

-All facilities are required to assess emissions of all contaminants during normal operations (including operating at maximum design capacity), start-up operating conditions, and shut-down operating conditions;
-Facilities in the petroleum refining sector are required to also assess emissions of SO2 during TOCs related to acid gas flaring, and
-Any facility, if issued a notice by a Director, must assess the operating condition specified in the notice for the contaminant(s) specified in the notice

Under the new amendment, November 15, 2018, EBR 013-4126, petroleum facilities in Ontario would be required to:

-calculate SO2 emissions from flaring incidents and, within two to four years (by 2020-2022), install continuous in-stack monitoring equipment;
-report sulphur dioxide flaring incidents;
-submit reports to the ministry that analyze the root cause of flaring incidents and set out corrective and preventive actions to be taken;
-submit plans to the ministry for reducing emissions of sulphur dioxide and flaring incidents at the facility within one year;
-engage the local community about sulphur dioxide emissions and plans to address the emissions ;
-as part of the proposed regulation, facilities will be required to provide calculated emissions information on a periodic basis for normal operations and after each flaring incident. Based on these calculations, the Ministry may issue an environmental penalty where a specified emission threshold is exceeded.

While the current work by the Ministry on the development of an Industry Technical Standard for Petroleum Refineries to manage SO2 emissions will not become effective until July 1, 2023, the proposed amendment (EBR 013-4126) will better define and accelerate certain initiatives to better manage SO2 flaring incidents from Ontario refineries.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation sees this new regulation as a positive initiative by the Ministry to require Petroleum Refining Industry to accelerate the implementation of the new SO2 reg announced in 2018 and supports this initiative.

Unfortunately, the Ministry has also introduced a clause which relaxes an important requirement of the regulation announced in March 2018, namely that new URTs will become effective January 1, 2019. The proposed modification (EBR 013-4126) states that "Until July 1, 2023, when the facilities are complying with the new requirements, it is proposed that the flare modeling and URT provisions of O.Reg.419/05 will not apply". This clause will delay by 4.5 years the more stringent URT for SO2 that was announced earlier this year, to be adopted on January 1, 2019.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation is disappointed and disagrees with the part of this regulation which will delay from January 1, 2019 to July 1, 2023 the adoption of the stricter URT levels adopted earlier this year.