ArticleRead the OWMA's submission on the government's Landfill Gas Offset Protocol. see more
The OWMA highlighted several concerns with the provincial government’s proposed Landfill Gas Offset Protocol in a recent submission, which was developed with the help of the association’s Climate Change Committee.
The OWMA has continued to advocate on behalf of our members to open up offset crediting options to more landfills under the Landfill Gas Offset Protocol. Our submission, which was sent to the provincial government on June 18, emphasized the potential for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by enhancing existing landfill-gas capture systems at large landfill sites.
Unfortunately, the protocol excludes landfills larger than 1.5 million cubic metres from generating offsets. The rationale given for this decision is that they are already required to capture and destroy landfill-gas under Regulation 232/98. As a result, landfill-gas capture projects at these sites would not achieve a voluntary reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in addition to what is already required under Ontario’s current regulations.
The OWMA pointed out in its submission that Regulation 232/98 does not mandate performance standards for landfill-gas capture systems. If the protocol allowed large landfills to generate offset credits for system enhancements, significant emissions reductions could be achieved, according to our research. Unfortunately, it appears as though the provincial government will not make any further changes to the Landfill Gas Offset Protocol.
The OWMA will continue to represent the priorities of the sector as the government rolls out new policies and programs under its Climate Change Action Plan while looking to potential opportunities to develop incentives for renewable natural gas through an anaerobic digestion offset protocol and a renewable fuel standard. (Read the OWMA’s submission on the government’s Discussion Paper: Developing a Modern Renewable Fuel Standard for Gasoline in Ontario.)
If you have any questions about the OWMA’s submissions or next steps on climate change, please contact the office at (905) 791-9500.
ArticleOWMA's Submission on Landfill Gas Offset Protocol see more
The OWMA's submission on the provincial government's Landfill Gas Offset Protocol highlights the association's concerns with the protocol's eligibility requirements for landfill-gas capture projects, incentives for beneficial use and regional differences under the Western Climate Initiative.
ArticleThe State of Waste reports offer the most comprehensive overview of waste facility data in Ontario. see more
The OWMA embarked on a major data collection and analysis initiative to better understand data related to waste management in the province. This initial State of Waste Report is an annual publication, which is continually being expanded and refined based on the needs of the sector. To access this report, click here.
ArticleThe proposed landfill-gas offset protocol falls short of incentivizing further emissions reductions. see more
The Climate Action Reserve delivered the first round of proposed offset protocols to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change last month, which includes a draft protocol for landfill-gas destruction.
The OWMA has expressed concerns with this draft protocol since it is unlikely to incentivize additional greenhouse gas reductions through the development or improvement of landfill-gas-capture systems.
Because Ontario already requires landfills with more than 1.5 million cubic metres of capacity to have systems in place to collect, flare or use landfill gas, the protocol does not provide crediting options for the destruction of methane emissions at any of these sites.
This restriction severely limits the applicability of the new protocol, which is soon expected to be posted on the Environmental Registry for a 30-day public consultation period.
For smaller landfills sites, a number of additional requirements within the protocol will make it difficult to move forward with new systems to capture and destroy methane emissions.
The OWMA will continue discussions with the government about alternative ways to incentivize improvements to landfill-gas-capture systems, which were highlighted in a report compiled for the association by GHD.
In the meantime, the Climate Action Reserve is moving forward with the adaptation of the remaining offset protocols, which include one for “Organic Waste Management” and another for “Organic Waste Digestion.” The Reserve, which was retained by the provincial government to take existing offset protocols and adapt them for use in Ontario, has stated that all of the offset protocols will be completed by the end of this year.
The OWMA plans to play an active role on the adaptation of the remaining offset protocols related to the waste management sector. We have also communicated the association’s priorities on offsets to the government in response to an Offset Credits Regulatory Proposal that was posted on the Environmental Registry in November 2016.
Our association has called on the government to minimize the red tape associated with offset registration and compliance; maintain a level-playing field between Ontario companies offering offset credits and businesses in other jurisdictions with fewer compliance and regulatory costs; and align offset and energy policies for waste management companies, such as Anaerobic Digestion facilities, which require access to renewable energy markets.
ArticleOntario is moving forward with a study on landfill planning and management. see more
As part of the Waste-Free Ontario Strategy, the government has committed to reform the planning and management of landfill sites to reduce emissions and environmental risks. The strategy recognizes the need for landfill space as the province work towards the goal of a waste-free Ontario. It also lays out steps to ensure environmental standards are being put into place at landfills across the province.
To address this specific action the government released an RFP entitled “Project: tender_6094 - “Study: Landfill Planning and Management in Ontario.” The deadline for submissions is June 8. The project will likely begin in July and last five months.
This study will provide an opportunity for the sector to highlight its priorities and work with the government to develop a more consistent, predictable approvals process for new landfill sites and needed disposal capacity. The OWMA will be working through its Waste Disposal & Transfer committee to provide feedback to the government through this process.
Some concerns have been raised that this study might impact the status of current landfill approvals, but it appears the MOECC is continuing to move forward with approvals at this time.
As one additional reminder, the MOECC has also posted the draft Landfill Gas Offset Protocol on the Environmental Registry with a deadline for comments of June 18. If you have any questions or feedback about the offset protocol, please contact the OWMA office 905-791-9500.
ArticleThe OWMA is voicing the sector’s growing concerns over the lack of progress on landfill approvals. see more
The OWMA is voicing the waste management sector’s growing concerns over the lack of progress on current landfill approvals.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray made comments at the OWMA’s Annual General Meeting and Conference on March 1 about developing a strategy for disposal capacity in the province. The concern from the sector is that the development of this strategy could hold back landfill approvals until it is finished.
In a letter sent to Murray, the OWMA stressed the importance of allowing current projects to proceed through the environmental assessment process to ensure that Ontario has adequate landfill capacity to meet the province’s disposal needs during the transition to a more circular economy.
Need for a more resilient disposal system
To help provincial officials understand the important role of disposal in our economy, the letter includes information from the OWMA’s 2016 landfill report, which projects that Ontario has only enough landfill capacity to last roughly 16 years.
It also provides the most recent data on waste shipments to the United States, which shows one third of Ontario’s waste, or 3.7 million tonnes, is shipped south of the border annually. This number has continued to increase over the years. Shipments from Ontario to Michigan alone have jumped by more than 30% since 2012.
Without the ability to meet our disposal needs within our own borders, Ontario could have serious difficulties managing service disruptions caused by natural disasters or changes in trade policy in the United States.
Bridging the data gap
To help develop a resilient waste management system in Ontario, the OWMA has called on the government to work with the sector on building up and refining landfill data in the province.
Proponents of waste management projects require certainty on approvals to properly plan for the expansion and development of sites and facilities. Providing high-quality data to companies and municipalities will assist with locating and developing these projects.
The government has indicated that it would like to work with the OWMA on improving the collection of data and strengthening environmental standards. We hope to provide a more comprehensive overview of this work in the coming months.
New Landfill Property Class and tax ratios
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has released the final regulation to complete its landfill taxation reforms, which follow the recommendations by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and John Wilkinson made in two reports last year.
O. Reg. 449/16 creates a new Landfill Property Class, which uses the historic valuation methodology to assess these properties as vacant industrial land while including the value of on-site buildings and structures in the assessment based on the cost to replace them.
O. Reg. 448/16 allows for property tax increases to be phased in over the 2017 to 2020 tax years.
O. Reg. 95/17 is the final regulation, which establishes ratios that allow municipal discretion to increase the tax rate by up to 5% for all but three landfill sites. The County of Elgin, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and the County of Lambton are treated differently despite the OWMA’s insistence that all landfill sites should be treated equally.
OWMA staff and members are currently working together to assess the impact that the tax changes will have on the sector and are waiting to hear back from the Finance Ministry on several questions.