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Reply to Comments Received in Submissions on the Proposed Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations

Comments and Reply: Waste-Export Reduction Plans

A number of comments were received by environmental groups, provincial, industry and association stakeholders with respect to the provisions for waste export reduction plans set out in the proposed Regulations.

Application of Plans

A province and a number of environmental group stakeholders commented that:

    Waste export reduction plans should equally apply to imports of hazardous waste and should not be limited to exports. In addition the reduction plans should apply to all four streams: exports of both hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials and imports of both hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials.

    There is also a need to focus on source reduction and pollution prevention rather than hazardous waste recycling.

Industry and association stakeholders commented that:

The Waste Management Industry should not be subjected to Export Reduction Plans. There are several factors that drive the necessity for exports; issues such as national capacity, location (cost effective) as well as maintaining a competitive market place all have an impact on the selection of the disposal facility within the Hazardous Waste Industry. The revisions to the EIHWR should be amended to provide an exemption for hazardous waste management and recycling facilities.

The proposed Regulations do not specifically state that the plans do not apply to recyclables. The regulations should confirm this point; otherwise the impression may be left that the reduction of recyclables could be a goal.

While actual regulatory policy has not yet implemented the CEPA powers to require company plans to reduce or phase out waste exports to the USA, the legislative direction is an underlying concern and potential problem. An efficient and smart regulation policy would resolve this by a clear policy statement supporting continued use of appropriate USA disposal facilities.

We had understood that the requirement under Ref to 188(1) of CEPA calls for 'reduction of export for final disposal' for the purpose of reducing or phasing out of.... hazardous waste or prescribed non-hazardous waste was intended to apply to Persistent Organic Pollutant (per Schedule. 9) only. As described, it could apply to all types of hazardous wastes. The regulation should make clear that only POPs are subject to this requirement.

Response: Section 188(1) of CEPA 1999 provides the Minister with the authority to request an exporter or class of exporters of hazardous waste for final disposal to submit and implement a plan for the purpose of reducing or phasing out the export of the waste. Section 191(g) of CEPA 1999 takes into account the proximity or benefit of using the nearest appropriate disposal facility, and the increased production of goods responsible for generating the hazardous wastes for disposal. The proposed Regulations define the information to be included in such plans.

A number of comments were received by industry and association stakeholders with respect to the content of the plan and the information collection and analysis of the plans.

Content of the Plan

The detail to be provided in a Plan is far more detailed than necessary and could create confidentiality issues. The Plan should be limited to a general description of how waste is generated and what steps are being planned to reduce it and/or its export. Process details should not be required. In addition, subsections 25(1)(f) to 25(1)(j) imposes requirements that are too demanding which are part of market studies and additional costs. Also, subsections 25(1)(g) and 25(1)(f) do not reflect the actual situation of North to South movements. The principle of a sovereign country should not be applied to result in movements across thousands of kilometres to stay in Canada when facilities can be found that are closer in the U.S. This will result in an obstacle to free trade and result in harmful effects to the environment.

The 'plan' requirements for information are noted, but there is no indication of acceptance criteria. These criteria should be developed by Environment Canada.

Response: Environment Canada agrees that some of the proposed provisions may impose requirements that are too demanding. As such, two of these provisions have been replaced with a more practical one. An exporter who submits a plan may ask that it be treated as confidential under CEPA 1999 if it contains confidential information.

Information Collection and Analysis

It is understood that statistical data on transboundary movements will be used to determine who is to be required to prepare a Plan; the statistical conditions that will trigger" a Ministerial requirement to prepare a Plan should be explained in guidance materials.

There is no indication of what Environment Canada will do with this information: Collected for analysis or to set criteria for not allowing exports. Transparency of intent would assist industry in submitting comprehensive as well as useful information.

Response: Environment Canada will notify exporters when they are required to prepare a reduction plan for the export of waste destined for final disposal. Regulatees who have been asked to prepare a plan must submit it before a permit to export will be granted.

Environment Canada anticipates that one of the triggers for requiring export-reduction plans will be based on its review statistics in addition to the notification information of 8(j)(ix), the reduction or phase-out options considered, and the reason the disposal is taking place outside Canada.