March 14, 2005

New Nova Scotia air regulations to cut SO2 emissions 50% by 2010

New air quality regulations under Nova Scotia's Environment Act will cut sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions in half by 2010. The new regulations, which came into effect March 1, will require a 25% reduction in SO2 emissions by the end of 2005, and a further 25% reduction by the end of 2010. Reductions are based on 2001 levels. The annual SO2 emission cap for the province is 141,750 tonnes.

The reductions will be achieved through a lower cap on emissions for Nova Scotia Power, emission reduction plans for other large emitters, and by reducing the sulfur content of heavy fuel oil used in the province. Facilities releasing more than 90 tonnes of SO2 emissions per year are required to submit an emission reduction plan outlining proposed measures for achieving emission reductions of 25% from 2001 levels by 2010. The new SO2 emissions limit for Nova Scotia Power has been cut from 145,000 tonnes per year to 108,750 tonnes/year until the end of 2009, then 72,500 tonnes/year in 2010 and each year thereafter.

The regulation sets a limit on the sulfur content in heavy fuel oil consumed by industrial facilities (other than petroleum refineries) and in total fuel consumed by petroleum refineries. The limit in both cases is 2.2% by mass and 2% on an annual basis, effective July 1, 2005.

"These regulations mean we'll have about 36,000 fewer tonnes of sulphur dioxide emitted each year," said Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash. "That's comparable to Nova Scotia Power shutting down one of its five generating stations."

In addition, the regulation sets a new limit of 168 kilograms per year for mercury emissions from Nova Scotia Power's coal-fired generating stations. By 2009, it must also reduce its nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions by 20% from 2000 levels. The regulation sets an annual limit of 21,365 tonnes of NOX. Nova Scotia Power will be required to file an annual report documenting NOX and mercury emissions from its fossil-fueled plants.

Included in the regulation is a prohibition on the burning of designated materials without written authorization from the Department. These materials include tires, railway ties (or other wood treated with wood preservatives), materials containing rubber or plastic, asphalt shingles, waste dangerous goods (as defined by the provincial dangerous goods management regulations), and used oil (as defined in the used oil regulations).

In other regulatory activities, Morash announced a one-month extension of the public consultation period for Nova Scotia's proposed regulations to ban computers, televisions and other electronic products from landfills. The public consultation period, which began February 9, will now run until April 11, 2005. The extension is in response to requests from stakeholders for more time to submit comments.

Both the new air quality and the draft e-waste regulations may be viewed on the department's Web site, in the What's New section.

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