Strict new emission rules coming in July, and more companies seeking exemptions
The provincial government will be bringing in strict new pollution standards this summer, but some of Ontario’s biggest polluters won’t be required to meet them.
CBC News has obtained the list of all companies that currently have multi-year exemptions from limits on such pollutants as sulphur dioxide and airborne particles.
The information shows the eight companies — including Ontario’s biggest mining company, its biggest smelter and the large steel plants — will be allowed to emit far more pollution than otherwise permitted by the province’s tough new air-quality standards, due to take effect July 1.
New provincial limits are being introduced on a range of chemical pollutants, and companies are lining up to seek exemptions.
In some cases, the companies are allowed to emit many times the pollution permitted under the provincial regulations.
The ministry is proposing to exempt the province’s biggest steel mills — ArcelorMittal Dofasco in Hamilton, U.S. Steel in Hamilton and Nanticoke, and Essar Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie — from the new limits coming on emissions of benzene and benzo-alpha-pyrene benzene. The proposals would allow mills to exceed some of the limits by as much as 250 times.
“Some industries will not be able to meet the standard right away because of technological limitations,” Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray said in a statement Wednesday.
He said companies can apply for exemptions — called “site-specific standards” — for as long as 10 years.
“Site-specific standards still require companies to make improvements and investments in the best available technology and practices to reduce emissions,” Murray said.
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