Panel: Cindy Derkaz, Dr. Robert Cameron, Joanne Dunaway
Keywords:Waste Management Act – s. 13(1), 13(4); “for the protection of the environment”; permit amendment; wood residue boiler; nitrogen oxides; sulphur dioxide
This was an appeal by Terry Jacks against a decision by the Deputy Director of Waste Management upholding the Regional Waste Manager’s (“RWM”) decision to amend a permit issued to Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Limited for its pulp and paper mill at Port Mellon, B.C. The amendments increased the air emission limits for both sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from the wood residue boiler at the mill.
Mr. Jacks argued that the RWM did not have the authority to amend a permit to increase allowable emission limits because section 13(1) of the Waste Management Act requires that any amendment be “for the protection of the environment.” The Panel adopted the reasoning from Philip Fleischer et al. v. Assistant Regional Waste Manager and Pacificy Papers Inc. (Third Party), Appeal No. 98-WAS-29(d) (unreported), and found that the RWM had the authority to amend the permit to increase the emission limits.
Mr. Jacks argued alternatively that the RWM exceeded his authority by increasing the limits to levels substantially higher than the actual emissions from the boiler, and that excessive increases could never be regarded as being “for protection of the environment.” The Board found that the amended limits would not cause an unacceptable adverse effect on human health or the environment. The Board found that the increase in the emission limit for sulphur dioxide was not excessive. However, it found that the emission limits for nitrogen oxides were probably excessive. The Board was concerned that unnecessarily high limits impugn the integrity of the regulatory system, but found that it did not have sufficient evidence before it to lower the nitrogen oxides emission limits. As a result, the Board approved and adopted the Deputy Director of Waste Management’s directions to the RWM, which included studying the need for additional controls on nitrogen oxide emissions from the mill.