Proposed EHS regulatory changes – November 2019

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This is a list of select proposed EHS regulatory changes 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.

Canada

United States

Canada

Alberta

Bill 19, Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Implementation Act, 2019

Published – 11 Nov, 2019
Industry Sector – General Industry

The Government of Alberta has announced the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system, as part of the government’s climate strategy. The TIER system is a provincial initiative intended to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and exempt participants from the full application of the federal Greenhouse Gases Pollution Pricing Act.

It would apply to “any facility that has emitted 100,000 tonnes or more of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases”. The facilities not meeting that threshold would be able to opt in to the TIER if it

  •  “competes with a facility regulated under the TIER regulation”; or
  • emits more than 10,000 tonnes of CO2e per year, and is “in an emissions-intensive, trade-exposed sector”.

Certain oil and gas facilities would have the possibility to “apply to voluntarily opt-in to the TIER system”. It would also be possible to “combine multiple individual conventional oil and gas facilities into a single aggregate facility under TIER to streamline the reporting and compliance process”.

TIER would impose various performance benchmarks such as

  • the “good-as-best-gas” benchmark for electricity generators, requiring their emissions to be equivalent to the cleanest natural gas-fired generation plant;
  • the facility-specific benchmark, requiring facilities emitting more than 100,000 tonnes of emissions to cut them by 10 percent in 2020, and further reduce emissions by another one percent every subsequent year; and
  • the high performance benchmark for the “”most emission-efficient facilities”.

According to the Government, “product-specific high performance benchmarks [would] be developed for the [oil and gas] sector at a later date”.

To meet TIER requirements, facilities have the option to either reduce their emissions, or to

  • use credits from facilities that have met and exceeded their targets;
  • use emission offsets from organisations not regulated by TIER; or
  • pay $30/tonne of emissions into the TIER Fund.

Certain facilities would also have the possibility to benefit from a Compliance Cost Containment Program if their compliance costs exceed 3% of their sales or 10% of their profits.

To implement the TIER system, the government would adopt the Technology Innovation and Emission Reduction Implementation Act. The changes proposed in this bill would notably

  • change the title of the Climate Change and Emissions Management Act to the Emissions Management and Climate Resilience Act; and
    • give the Minister the power to transfer money paid into the Fund after January 1, 2021 from the Fund to the General Revenue, with certain exceptions.

Furthermore, the TIER regulation will replace the current Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation on Jan. 1, 2020.

More information is available here, here, here, and here.

Ontario

Harmonizing greenhouse gas reporting requirements to reduce burden

Published – 20 Nov, 2019
Industry Sector – General Industry, Office Spaces, Building Management and Maintenance

The Government of Ontario announced its intention to modify the rules and guidelines concerning the reporting of greenhouse gases emissions.

According to the Ontario government, the changes would notably

  • “align the definition of ‘facility’ under the Reporting Regulation with the facility definition under the federal Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program”;
  • align the quantification “methods and requirements with the federal […] methods and other requirements for facilities”;
  • “require certain parameters to be reported by covered facilities to support the Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) program”; and
  • modify the circumstances under which a revised greenhouse gas report can be requested.

Interested persons are invited to make comments concerning these changes by December 20, 2019.

More information is available here.

Quebec

Bill No 46: An Act to amend the Natural Heritage Conservation Act and other provisions

Published – 14 Nov, 2019
Industry Sector – General Industry

The legislation concerning conservation measures and protected areas might soon change in Quebec.

According to the Government of Quebec, the changes would notably

  • create “a new land use assignment mechanism for areas situated north of the 49th parallel, namely, northern conservation areas”;
  • include a public participation process for the designation of northern conservation areas and protected areas;
  • create “a new register compiling information on areas that, while not designated as protected areas, are covered by other effective conservation measures”, and a new separate register for northern conservation areas;
  • eliminate “the procedure for granting temporary protection as a preliminary step” to designate a protected area;
  • provide “that private lands may, under certain conditions, be included within the boundaries of a protected area”;
  • modify the activity framework applicable to protected areas and the procedure to designate them;
  • remove the “aquatic reserve” status and introduce two new protected area protection statuses: the “protected area with sustainable use” and the “marine reserve”;
  • amend “the procedure for recognizing a nature reserve”; and
  • change “the conservation measure applicable to man-made landscapes” for a recognition, and specify “the powers and responsibilities of the regional and local stakeholders, including the Aboriginal communities, who apply for the recognition of man-made landscapes”.

These changes would be implemented by amending the

    • Act Respecting Land use Planning and Development (CQLR,cA-19.1);
    • Natural Heritage Conservation Act (RSQ,cC-61.01);
    • Environment Quality Act (RSQ,cQ-2);
    • Regulation respecting the sustainable development of forests in the domain of the State (CA-QC-CQLRcA-18.1,r0.01);
    • Regulation respecting threatened or vulnerable plant species and their habitats (RRQ,cE-12.01,r3);
    • Regulation respecting the application of the Environment Quality Act (RRQ,cQ-2,r3); and
    • Rules of procedure of the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (CA-QC-OC572-2018).

Draft Regulation – An Act respecting occupational health and safety

Published – 06 Nov, 2019
Industry Sector – General Industry, Building Management and Maintenance

The Government of Quebec announced its intention to modify the health and safety rules relating to noise exposition.

According to the Government of Quebec, the changes would notably

  • update “the regulatory requirements and references with respect to exposure to noise and hearing protectors”;
  • “establish new noise exposure limits”;
  • require the identification of “workplace situations that may exceed the exposure limits, measurement techniques to accurately determine noise exposure in the workplace, and measures to reduce noise exposure”;
  • set “criteria for the performance and selection of hearing protectors”;
  • set training requirements “on the selection, adjustment, inspection, maintenance and use of hearing protectors”;
  • “introduce requirements with respect to the display of signs in work zones where hearing protectors must be worn”;
  • set reporting and record keeping requirements; and
  • update “the list of instruments and apparatus used by safety representatives within establishments to measure or evaluate noise”.

The changes would be implemented by amending the Regulation respecting occupational health and safety (RRQ,cS-2.1,r13) and the Safety Code for the construction industry (RRQ,cS-2.1,r4), and by repealing the Regulation respecting the quality of the work environment (CQLR,cS-2.1,r11).

Interested persons can submit comments until December 21, 2019.

United States

Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees

Published – 22 Nov, 2019
Industry Sector – Road Transportation

The Department of Transportation is proposing to amend regulations on training, qualification and oversight for safety-related railroad employees by delaying the implementation dates for all contractors, and those Class II and III railroads that are not intercity or commuter passenger railroads with 400,000 total employee work hours annually or more. This would affect 49 CFR 243 Subpart B Program Components and Approval Process (49CFR-243.B) and 49 CFR 243 Subpart C Program Implementation and Oversight Requirements (49CFR-243.C).

Written comments must be received by December 23, 2019.

Significant New Use Rules on Certain Chemical Substances (19-4.F)

Published – 4 Nov, 2019
Industry Sector – Chemical Industry

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to add 26 chemical substances which were the subject of premanufacture notices to Part 721 Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances (40CFR-721). This action would require persons who intend to manufacture, import or process any of these 26 chemical substances for an activity that is proposed as a significant new use to notify the EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. In this instance, persons would not be able to commence manufacture, import or processing for the significant new use until the EPA has conducted a review of the notice, made an appropriate determination on the notice, and has taken such actions as are required by that determination.

Comments must be received on or before December 4, 2019.

Pesticides; Agricultural Worker Protection Standard; Revision of the Application Exclusion Zone Requirements

Published – 01 Nov, 2019
Industry Sector – Agricultural Industry

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) to simplify the application exclusion zone (AEZ) requirements.

The proposed changes would notably

    • Limit the requirement for pesticide handlers (applicators) to temporarily suspend the application if certain persons are in the AEZ (on or off the establishment) so that it is an on-establishment obligation only.
    • Exempt owners and applicators from the entry restriction provisions of section 170.405(a) in regard to members of their immediate families who are inside closed buildings, housing, or shelters on the establishment.Owners would still have to observe AEZ requirements for non-family member employees on the establishment.
    • Revise the provisions related to handlers suspending and resuming applications.
    • Simplify the criteria for deciding whether pesticide applications are subject to a 25-foot AEZ or 100-foot AEZ.

Comments must be received on or before January 30, 2020.

National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Revisions

Published – 13 Nov, 2019
Industry Sector – Public Administration and Institutions

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing regulatory revisions to Part 141 National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (40CFR-141) and to National Primary Drinking Water Regulations Implementation (40CFR-142) for lead and copper. The proposed revisions would notably add new requirements for community water systems to conduct lead in drinking water testing and public education in schools and child care facilities, and revise procedures and requirements related to lead tap sampling, corrosion control treatment, lead service line replacement, consumer awareness, and public education.

Comments must be received on or before January 13, 2020.

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