Proposed EHS Regulatory Changes – December 2018

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This is a list of select proposed EHS regulatory changes for December 2018 in the United States and Canada.

We cover EHS legislation in over 100 countries and 200 jurisdictions. If you would like to track EHS legislation in specific regions, jurisdictions or countries, we are happy to help. Please send us a request for more information here and we will get in touch shortly.

United States

Proposed amendments seek to maintain alignment with international regulations

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is proposing to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations to maintain alignment with international regulations and standards by incorporating various amendments, including changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations, and vessel stowage requirements.

More information is available here.

Manitoba

Liability insurance may increase for short-line railway operators

The Government of Manitoba is proposing to change rules for short-line railways, notably to increase the minimum amount of liability insurance which short-line railway operators are required to have from $10,000,000.00 to $15,000,000.00.

This change would be made through amendments to the Provincial Railways Fitness Criteria and Safety Regulation.

The proposed effective date of these changes is March 1, 2019. More information is available here.

Input sought on drainage and water use rule changes

The approval process for drainage and water control projects may soon change. The Government of Manitoba is seeking comment on proposed changes to this process.

The proposed changes would notably

  • Exempt certain projects from The Water Rights Act including
    • Culvert replacements with no change in culvert size or invert elevation;
    • Projects requiring a license under The Environment Act; and
    • Certain low-impact water control works in urban areas;
  • Require the approval of significantly impacted downstream landowners, if the concerns of these landowners are judged to have merit;
  • Create a simplified authorization process for minor projects, while more complex or higher impact projects will undergo a licensing review process similar to the existing one;
  • Increase licensing and registration fees; and
  • Require license applicants to avoid wetland loss, mitigate impacts on wetlands, and provide compensation for any unavoidable loss of wetland benefits, for seasonal, semi-permanent and permanent wetlands.

These changes would involve amendments to the Water Rights Regulation. They would help implement amendments to The Water Rights Act passed in June 2018.

Comments will be accepted until January 19, 2019. More information is available here.

Prince Edward Island

Environmental assessment rules to be defined

P.E.I. may soon pass regulations governing how the environmental impacts of proposed projects are assessed. At present, this process is governed informally through guidelines.

A new bill has been introduced in the legislature which, if passed, would notably

  • Expand the range of undertakings which may require environmental assessment, to include those that use significant provincial resources and those involving new technologies which may induce significant environmental change; and
  • Authorize the Minister of Communities, Land and Environment to refuse to approve a proposed undertaking based on the public interest or environmental concerns, if they give reasons for doing so.

The bill would amend the Environmental Protection Act. At the time of publication of this alert, it had just passed second reading.

According to the Government of P.E.I., the regulations “are now being developed and public consultations will take place before they are implemented.”

More information is available here.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Claim process may be simplified for workers with PTSD

It may soon be easier for workers to claim compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following workplace trauma.

A new bill would, according to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, “mean that a worker who experiences a traumatic event or multiple events at work will be presumed to have developed their diagnosed PTSD as a result of their work. The diagnosis must be made by a psychiatrist or registered psychologist using the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”

This bill would amend the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act. At the time of publication of this alert, this bill had just passed third reading. More information is available here.

Greenhouse gas emissions rules may soon apply to offshore oil and gas

Greenhouse gas emissions restrictions and reporting requirements under Newfoundland and Labrador’s Management of Greenhouse Gas Act may soon apply to offshore activities including oil and gas exploration, drilling, and production. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board would be responsible for administering these rules, and would be authorized to recover associated costs from industry.

These changes would be made by a bill which would notably amend the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Newfoundland and Labrador Act. At the time of publication of this alert, this bill had just passed second reading. More information is available here.

Details of greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan proposed

A proposed bill would fill in several details regarding the implementation of Newfoundland and Labrador’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan.

The bill would notably, according to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador,

  • “[Clarify] that performance credits are earned by an industrial facility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at that industrial facility”;
  • “[Provide that the Management of Greenhouse Gas Act (“the Act”) will apply] to the Holyrood Generating Station”;
  • “[Allow government] to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for industrial facilities that emit between 15,000 and 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or more of greenhouse gases in a year”;
  • “[Clarify] that the operator not the owner of an industrial facility is responsible for reporting greenhouse gas emissions under [the Act]”;
  • “[Allow] the minister to delegate his or her powers and duties under the Act and the regulations to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board in relation to industrial facilities in the offshore area”;
  • “[Provide] for a 5 cent decrease in the tax on diesel grade of gasoline and a 4 cent decrease in the tax on other grades of gasoline”; and
  • “[Introduce] a tax on carbon products effective January 1, 2019.”

The bill would amend the Management of Greenhouse Gas Act, as well as other legislation. At the time of publication of this alert, the bill had just passed third reading. More information is available here.