May Bulletin: new Technical Standard for Asphalt Mix Industry and changes to the Environmental Assessment Act
Strengthening the new Technical Standard for Asphalt Mix Industry
Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks has proposed the establishment of a technical standard for the asphalt mix industry to reduce emissions from asphalt mix facilities which are known to cause adverse health and environmental impacts. Despite these serious impacts, there has been inadequate enforcement of regulations against these operations. CELA believes that asphalt mix facilities should remain subject to the environmental compliance approval (ECA) process, which provides for a rigorous review of these operations by the Ministry’s engineers and technical staff and permits the Ministry to undertake preventative measures to address any site-specific concerns. The ECA process, unlike a technical standard, allows the Ministry to undertake an upfront assessment to ensure that asphalt mix facilities comply with provincial environmental laws, prior to commencing operation in Ontario. CELA remains strongly opposed to the use of a technical standard to regulate asphalt mix facilities in Ontario.
Proposed Amendments to General Regulation 334 of the Environmental Assessment Act
CELA made a submission to a proposed amendment to General Regulation 334 under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA). We pointed out to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services that the proposal would exempt any disposition or severance of government property carried out by the Ministry, and that the exemption removes the ability to identify and evaluate potential adverse environmental effects early in the decision-making process. Without the application of the EAA, there will be an insufficient legislative basis requiring that adverse effects of an undertaking be considered from the outset. Ontario’s EA requirements for realty undertakings are neither duplicative nor redundant, as the information gathered, and public comment opportunities provided, are unique to the EA process.
Critiquing changes to the Environmental Assessment Act
Enacted in 1975, Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act imposes legally binding environmental assessment (EA) obligations to certain public or private undertakings such as landfills, incinerators, highways or transit projects. The Ontario government is currently considering several potential changes to its EA program outlined in a Discussion Paper that fails to persuasively explain how or why these changes will be implemented. CELA believes these proposals are inconsistent with the public interest purpose of the Environmental Assessment Act. In addition, the Discussion Paper does not address the previous EA reforms put forward in recent years by various stakeholders. We suggested that the Discussion Paper’s changes should not be pursued but should instead follow other forms to transform the province’s EA program into a robust, credible and participatory regime. CELA also filed a critique of the Environmental Assessment Act changes proposed in Schedule 6 of Bill 108. (CELA has an extensive background collection on the Environmental Assessment Act.)
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