January 23, 2006

Quebec revises EQ Act provisions for landfill site creation, expansion

An amendment to Quebec's Environment Quality Act (EQA) passed in early December has come into force as of January 19, 2006. Bill 107 adds new provisions to sections 31.5 and 31.6 of the act relating to the establishment or enlargement of landfill sites.

The addition to section 31.5 authorizes the government or committee of ministers to include standards other than those prescribed by the EQA in any permit granted for a project to establish or enlarge a landfill site used for disposal of household solid waste, if the government or ministerial committee reviewing the permit application (and accompanying environmental impact statement) considers such standards necessary for greater environmental protection.

Under the amendment added to section 31.6, the government or committee of ministers may exempt such a project from the environmental assessment (EA) and review process if it feels the project needs to be carried out in less time than would be needed to complete the EA process. The government will be required to provide a full explanation of the situation requiring the exemption, and there is a one-year time limit for a landfill operating under such an authorization. In addition, the amendment allows only one renewal of this decision per project.

Bill 107 further amends section 61 of the EQA, authorizing the appointment of an arbitrator to resolve any dispute among municipalities over the costs of waste disposal services stemming from an order issued under this section.

Finally, the bill repeals two other pieces of legislation: the Act respecting the establishment and enlargement of certain waste elimination sites, and the Act to prohibit the establishment or enlargement of certain waste elimination sites.

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