Environmental, Health and Safety Update


Canada

Government to limit emissions from cars and light trucks for 2017 model year and beyond

Environment Canada recently released a consultation document on the development of proposed regulations to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2017 and beyond. As was reported in Torys’ October 2010 EH&S Bulletin, Environment Canada previously issued the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations, which established fleet-average GHG emission standards applicable to companies that manufacture or import new passenger automobiles and light trucks for sale in Canada, for the 2011–2016 model years. The consultation document is posted on the CEPA Environmental Registry for public comment, and the proposed regulations are expected to be available for public comment in 2012.

For further information, please see the news release and the consultation document.


Government to invest in reducing pollutant emissions

The federal government recently announced a $600.8 million investment over the next five years to renew the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda. Since 2006, this agenda has served as the framework for the government to reduce GHG emissions and improve air quality. According to the government, the funding will be used to align GHG regulations with those of the United States (where appropriate); to finalize and implement a national air quality management system that will include new ambient air quality standards for key pollutants, new industrial emissions standards and active management of local air quality by provinces; to strengthen commitments to reduce transborder air pollution under the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement; to improve indoor air quality by developing applicable codes and standards; and to implement the Canada-wide Air Quality Health Index.

For further information, please see Investment in Clean Air.


Alberta

Technical Guidance for completing Specified Gas Baseline Emission Intensity Applications released  

The Alberta government released the draft updated Technical Guidance for completing Baseline Emissions Intensity Applications (Technical Guidance). The purpose of the Technical Guidance is to assist facilities whose GHG emissions intensity is regulated under the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation in completing an application for a baseline emissions intensity – the benchmark below which the facility’s actual emissions intensity must be reduced. According to the Technical Guidance, a facility’s stated baseline emissions intensity value must represent the facility’s normal operating conditions unless otherwise approved by Alberta Environment. In addition, the Technical Guidance, among other things, describes negligible emissions that will not be factored into a facility’s baseline, provides a clearer definition of industrial process emissions, describes the required reporting for carbon dioxide entering or leaving the site, and adopts a rolling three-year baseline for all new facilities.

The final documents are expected to be released in February 2012. For further information, please see the Technical Guidance.


United States

New standards offer guidance for environmental diligence

Recently, ASTM International issued revised environmental standards governing the performance of and response to environmental site assessments. Following more than two years of review, ASTM recently revised its standard practice for the phase II environmental site assessment process. The revised standards set forth an iterative process, emphasizing communication between the user who commissions the assessment and the assessor who performs it. The new version requires the user and assessor to agree on a written statement of objectives, tailored to the user’s needs, that set the scope of the investigation and that may be revised throughout the assessment process.

For further information, please see the ASTM website.

To discuss these issues, please contact the authors.

This publication is a general discussion of certain legal and related developments and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require legal advice, we would be pleased to discuss the issues in this publication with you, in the context of your particular circumstances.

For permission to republish this or any other publication, contact Janelle Weed.

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