By Coco Wang, Law Student
In June 2023, CELA made a submission to the Ontario government regarding Glencore Canada Corporation’s (Glencore) application for a site-specific air pollution standard (SSS) for its Kidd Concentrator facility. Glencore’s application, if approved, would allow them to release sulphur dioxide at a rate almost 7 times the health-based provincial air standards. This risks poor air quality with potentially serious consequences to the environment and human health.
CELA is disappointed that, earlier this month, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) approved Glencore’s SSS proposal for sulphur dioxide for a 5-year period.
Further, CELA is not satisfied with the MECP’s responses to many of the concerns brought up in our submission. For instance:
● CELA argued that approval of site-specific standard should be denied based on “public interest consideration” pursuant to O. Reg. 419/05, s.35(1)(b)(iii).
● CELA argued that the submission and public consultation did not provide explanations about the harmful effects of sulphur dioxide and did not include a human health impact study.
● Glencore has indicated reluctance to replace dryers with filter presses based on economic reasons, but no economic feasibility analysis was provided.
● Glencore stated that its maximum emission scenario would be 658 mg/m3; which is lower than the 690 mg/m3 provided for in the site-specific standard. In other words, the site-specific standard was approved at a rate higher than what is required by Glencore in its maximum emission scenario.
Though the MECP quoted CELA’s concerns in their decision, their responses to these concerns were not adequate.
MECP recognized in its decision that if the facility replaces its existing drying equipment with new equipment, sulphur dioxide emissions would be eliminated. However, MECP has given Glencore three years (until 2026) to decide whether it will implement this replacement.
Unfortunately, the public cannot apply for leave to appeal site-specific standard approval instruments. However, we strongly encourage members of the public in the community to inquire both with the facility itself and with the MECP about the facility’s emission levels and the progress on installing filter presses. Glencore is required to provide an annual report detailing its progress each year in implementing the Action Plan; the annual report should be posted on Glencore’s website. According to Glencore’s public consultation report, Glencore can be contacted by the public in relation to its Kidd Operations emissions through Leah Fedat, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For inquiries regarding MECP’s decision, the public can contact Mona Crivat, Air Pollution Control Engineer at the Air Policy and Programs Branch at Mona.Crivat@ontario.ca.