October 2017-Top Ten Global EHS Updates

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Top EHS Updates



Nuclear safety rules updated to improve safety in emergency situations

New requirements for nuclear safety in emergency situations are now in force.

In particular, the changes

  • Decrease and clarify the amount of radiation the public and nuclear energy workers may receive during emergencies;
  • Update the list of provisions eligible for an administrative monetary penalty accordingly;
  • Ensure that Class I nuclear facility licensees implement human performance programs in order to be ready to react effectively to nuclear emergencies;
  • Require nuclear power plant licensees to carry out a periodic safety review;
  • Replace the requirement for a quality assurance program with a requirement for a management system, as part of a licence application.

These changes are in force.

Bill on labelling toxic products

The sale, importation or advertisement of a product that contains a toxic substance may be prohibited in the future unless a label warning is affixed on its packaging.

This prohibition was proposed by means of a bill called “An Act regarding the right to know when products contain toxic substances”, which at the time of publication of this notice had passed the first reading stage.

New spill response rules in effect soon

New rules for the management of spills in British Columbia will soon be in force.

These rules establish new requirements for spill preparedness, response, and recovery, and can be summarized as follows:

  • Transporters of liquid petroleum products, through a pipeline or in a quantity of at least 10,000 litres by rail or on a highway, will be required to develop and test spill contingency plans.
  • A person who possesses or controls a substance when it spills or is at imminent risk of spilling must meet enhanced spill reporting requirements, carry out certain response actions, and, if directed to do so, develop and implement a recovery plan to address damage done to the environment.
  • Any spill, regardless of substance, location, or source, will require additional reporting and monitoring, and procedures will have to be carried out within set timeframes.

The changes are effective October 30, 2017; spill contingency plans are required by April 30, 2018 (rail/pipeline) or October 30, 2018 (trucking) and additional reporting requirements apply to spills that occur on or after October 30, 2018. At the time of publication of this alert, the online version of the legislation had not been updated.

Updates proposed to public health-related rules for camps, food premises, drinking water systems

Interested parties should be aware of an opportunity to comment on the following proposed changes to three regulations under the Health Protection and Promotion Act:

  • The Camps in Unorganized Territory regulation is being streamlined and modernized, in particular to update water supply requirements; add requirements related to operator training and notice of opening a camp; and align with the Building Code, 2012  and Food Premises regulations.
  • The Food Premises regulation is being streamlined and modernized, in particular to change exemptions; eliminate redundancies with the Building Code, 2012; add requirements related to personnel on the premises, posting of inspection results, and pest control; and amend requirements related to temperature control, food handling, food purchases, cleaning, and sanitizing.
  • The Transitional — Small Drinking Water Systems regulation is proposed for repeal, since the permanent Small Drinking Water Systems regulation is now in force for all small drinking water systems in Ontario so the transitional regulation is no longer required.

Comments on these changes are due November 8, 2017.

Changes proposed to greenhouse gas emissions trading and reporting rules to link jurisdictions, allow offset credits

Ontario’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cap and trade rules may soon change to facilitate linkage and integration of Ontario’s cap and trade program with Quebec and California and to enable offset credits to be used.

Ontario’s cap and trade program sets a limit on GHG emissions that decreases over time. Companies that exceed this limit must have enough credits to cover their emissions; credits may be bought or sold (traded). “Offset credits” may be claimed for initiatives that avoid or reduce GHG emissions, such as tree-planting projects, to meet up to eight percent of a facility’s compliance obligations.

Changes have been proposed to the cap and trade program rules to provide for linking, set caps for 2021-2030, and make other amendments to ensure compliance, maintain market integrity, and improve data reliability and program efficiency. Notably, the changes would

  • Require submission of verification reports;
  • Recognize compliance instruments from California and Quebec for use in Ontario;
  • Hold joint auctions of emission allowances with California and Quebec;
  • Adjust holding and purchase limits for allowances and credits;
  • Extend requirement for related persons (e.g., persons with common account representatives who are employees) to share holding and purchase limits to include related persons in California and Quebec;
  • Allow some entities to register in multiple jurisdictions;
  • Change rules related to voluntary participant registration and free allowances;
  • Add rules that prescribe how documents can be given or served; and
  • Establish a framework for issuing administrative penalties for non-compliance.

In addition, offset credit rules have been proposed that would outline the overall process, criteria, and administrative requirements involved in creating offset credits that can be used to meet cap and trade program compliance obligations.

Comments may be made until November 6, 2017 (November 18, 2017 for comments on the offset credit rules).



Singapore Amends Three Regulations on Vehicular Emissions 

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources of Singapore published three new amendments to the Environmental Protection and Management Regulations 2017. The three amendment regulations were promulgated under the Environmental Protection and Management Act and are administered by the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

The three amendment regulations modify the Environmental Protection and Management Regulations . The first Amendment inserts the words “or petrol” immediately after the word “diesel” wherever it appears in the principal Regulations and came into effect July 1, 2017. The second Amendment modifies the Eighth Schedule to the principal Regulations by inserting two temperature descriptions immediately after item 3, “Polyaromatics content.” The second Amendment comes into operation on January 1, 2018. The third Amendment modifies the principal Regulations by deleting and updating several dates. It also comes into operation on January 1, 2018.

 United States


Rules and Regulations: Hazardous Waste Management System; Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is granting a petition submitted by ExxonMobil Oil Corporation Beaumont Refinery to exclude from hazardous waste control certain solid waste. This final rule responds to the petition submitted by ExxonMobil to have the secondary impoundment basin (SIB) solids excluded, or delisted from the definition of a hazardous waste. After careful analysis and evaluation of comments submitted by the public, the EPA has concluded that the petitioned wastes are not hazardous waste when disposed of in Subtitle D landfills. This exclusion applies to the surface impoundment solids generated at ExxonMobil’s Beaumont, Texas facility. Accordingly, this final rule excludes the petitioned waste from the requirements of hazardous waste regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) when disposed of in Subtitle D landfills but imposes testing conditions to ensure that the future-generated wastes remain qualified for delisting.

Rules and Regulations: Approval of California Air Plan Revisions, Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to approve and conditionally approve revisions to the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District portion of the California State Implementation Plan. These revisions concern the District’s demonstration regarding Reasonably Available Control Technology requirements for the 1997 8-hour ozone and the 2008 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards in the Antelope Valley ozone non-attainment area. The EPA is also taking final action to approve AVAQMD negative declarations into the SIP for the 1997 and the 2008 ozone standards. We are approving local SIP revisions under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act).
Compliance dates postponed for steam electric power generating point source standards

The Environmental Protection Agency is postponing the compliance dates for new, more stringent effluent limitations and pretreatment standards for steam electric power generating point sources, specifically focusing on flue gas desulfurization wastewater and bottom ash transport water.

The new compliance date is November 1, 2020.

Proposed Rules: Claims Procedure for Plans Providing Disability Benefits; Extension of Applicability Date

The Department of Labor proposes to delay for ninety (90) days–through April 1, 2018–the applicability of the Final Rule amending the claims procedure requirements applicable to ERISA-covered employee benefit plans that provide disability benefits. The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2016, and became effective on January 18, 2017. The Final Rule currently is scheduled to apply to claims for disability benefits under ERISA-covered employee benefit plans that are filed on or after January 1, 2018. Following publication of the Final Rule, various stakeholders and members of Congress asserted that it will drive up disability benefit plan costs, cause an increase in litigation, and in so doing impair workers’ access to disability insurance benefits. Pursuant to Executive Order 13777, the Department of Labor has concluded that it is appropriate to give the public an additional opportunity to submit comments and data concerning potential impacts of the Final Rule. The Department of Labor will carefully consider the submitted comments and data as part of its effort to examine regulatory alternatives that meet its objectives of ensuring the full and fair review of disability benefit claims while not imposing unnecessary costs and adverse consequences. The Department of Labor accordingly seeks public comment on a proposed 90-day delay of the applicability of the Final Rule in order to solicit additional public input and examine regulatory alternatives. If this proposal is finalized, the amendments made on December 19, 2016, would become applicable to claims for disability benefits that are filed after April 1, 2018, rather than January 1, 2018.


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