Proposed E2 regulations will require industry to develop prevention, response plansNew federal Environmental Emergency (E2) regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) will require industrial facilities that handle dangerous substances to develop accident prevention plans. The proposed regulations will also require companies to address emergency preparedness, response and recovery. The draft regulations were published in the August 10 Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 60-day comment period running to October 8.
The proposed E2 regulations focus on an initial list of 174 substances (attached as a schedule to the draft regulations). Any companies that store or use these substances, above specified minimum quantities, will be required to provide information to Environment Canada on the quantity and location of the substance(s). Also required will be a notice indicating that an emergency plan has been implemented within 90 days, six months and one year after the proposed regulations come into effect, respectively.
The emergency plan will have to address the types of emergencies that might reasonably occur, including on- and off-site consequences, and the associated prevention, preparedness, response and recovery issues. The names of people involved with the plan will have to be listed, along with their roles and responsibilities. A company's existing plan may be used to meet the requirements of the new regulations, although if it does not fully comply, it will have to be amended to bring it into compliance.
The regulations will require reporting of any increase in quantities of the prescribed substances 10% or more of the amount originally reported; notification will have to be carried out within 60 days after the change in amount. Facilities will also have to notify Environment Canada when they no longer have the minimum (or more) prescribed quantity of a substance on site for a period of 12 consecutive months.
The information required under the new regulations will give police, fire and other emergency response personnel relevant information on the nature and scope of hazard associated with the prescribed substances, as well as the location of critical facilities. This will help them respond effectively in an emergency.
Environment Minister David Anderson added that "the E2 Regulations will increase the amount of information available to Canadians who live near industrial facilities. This is consistent with the government's commitment under CEPA 1999 to provide Canadians with increased access to information, and more opportunities to participate in the decision making process."
Environment Canada projects that approximately 1,500 facilities will be subject to the E2 regulations. They will be required to develop, implement and test an emergency plan within one year after the regulations come into effect, likely in early 2003.
The cost to industry of compliance is not expected to be significant, since many facilities are part of the chemical sector. The majority of companies in this sector are members of the Canadian Chemical Producers' Association and as such, already have emergency plans in place through their participation in the CCPA's Responsible Care program. Many larger companies in other sectors also have plans in place, although they may need to make some amendments in order to comply with the E2 regulations.
Small-to-medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that store ammonia or petroleum products in quantities at or above the prescribed minimum are less likely to have emergency plans in place. They will be subject to the same reporting and plan preparation requirements, but Environment Canada says the proposed regulations afford enough flexibility in terms of factors such as local site considerations that compliance for most SMEs should be a fairly simple, straightforward planning process.
The main compliance cost burden will be carried by government, which will have to set up a processing and tracking system for the submitted information. This is projected to cost around $150,000 per year, including staff. Compliance promotion and enforcement costs are estimated at $350,000 per year, including staff.
Information on the proposed regulations, including the 174 substances on the initial list, applicable minimum quantities, and the regulatory text, can be found at www.ec.gc.ca/ee-ue/plans/plans_e.cfm. Inquiries and comments may be directed to Asit Hazra at Environment Canada, 819/953-1140, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.