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The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) has announced proposed amendments to the Emissions Performance Standards program (EPS) under the Environmental Protection Act (read our earlier bulletin on the EPS here). The proposed amendments announced yesterday do not include changes to the EPS to allow for the use of carbon offsets for the purposes of compliance. This bulletin briefly summarizes the proposed amendments, which are in three key areas: Supporting a partial year coverage of emissions. MECP is proposing the following amendments in support of partial year coverage, including calculations that facilities are to use for determining the following prorated amounts: -Verification amount (emissions); -Production parameters; -Emissions limits. In addition, these amounts will be used to determine the: -facility’s compliance obligation (equal to the amount that emissions are higher than the facility’s emissions limit), or -number of emissions performance units (EPUs) to be distributed to the facility’s account (equal to the amount that emissions are lower than the facility’s emissions limit). Treatment of new facilities. MECP is proposing to align the EPS with federal policy for the registration of new facilities. To be eligible, new facilities must: -be engaged in an industrial activity identified in Schedule 2 of the EPS regulation (which sets out various activities that are covered by the regulation); and -provide estimates that demonstrate the facility is projected to emit at least 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) or more per year in any of the three calendar years from the date of first production. Other administrative, technical and clarifying amendments. MECP is proposing the following amendments to support compliance, enforcement and administration of the EPS and support the transition from the federal Output-Based Pricing System (read our earlier bulletin on the transition announcement here), including: -clarifying rules for transferring compliance instruments; -aligning the performance standard…

Today the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (“MNRF”) released a draft Forest Biomass Action Plan (the “Draft Plan”), a commitment made in Ontario’s forest sector strategy, released on August 20, 2020. The Draft Plan is now open for comment until June 21, 2021. This bulletin briefly summarizes the Draft Plan. The Draft Plan seeks to examine innovative uses of forest biomass, such as mill by-products and underutilized forest biofibre, for applications in heat and power generation and sustainable, low-carbon consumer products. The Draft Plan strives to secure jobs, support economic development, and encourage sustainability in the forest sector. The Draft Plan seeks to achieve the following five objectives: Identify pathways to markets for forest biomass by: further refining Ontario’s inventory of forest biomass; publishing reports summarizing the types of forest bioproducts and technologies and describing current and future demand for Ontario bioproducts; completing a jurisdictional scan; developing a life cycle inventory for traditional and non-traditional wood products, study biomass carbon dynamics, and refine life-cycle impact assessment models; supporting development of regional clusters; and conducting collaborative research studies on soil quality, stand development, productivity, and biodiversity. Support demand for forest bioenergy and bioproducts by: ensuring that existing facilities receive ongoing access to the provincial market at fair compensation; publishing a report quantifying the financial contribution of forest biomass; providing resources for the development of community-led projects; advancing the use of forest biomass through the Ontario Bioheat Initiative; creating a provincial bioheat strategy; engaging with potential industry users to integrate forest biomass into supply chains; and pursuing government procurements that use biomass to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, energy, and other products. Improve the business and regulatory environments for the use of forest biomass by: reviewing and updating Ontario’s Forest Biofibre Directive; streamlining permitting and reduce regulatory burdens; making…