Quebec wants to increase the fees that major polluters must pay

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Quebec wants to increase the fees that major polluters must pay

Environment Minister Benoit Charette wants to quadruple the base rate to be paid for contaminant discharges.

The Quebec government intends to “ substantially increase” the fees that large corporations whose activities contaminate the air and water must pay.

The Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette, wants to tighten the rules for the 85 companies that are subject to a ministerial authorization relating to the operation of an industrial establishment. /p>

This authorization, formerly called a sanitation certificate, is given to industrial complexes such as aluminum smelters, cement factories, pulp and paper mills or mines, which must pay each year an amount to offset the environmental impacts of their activities.

Changes to the Regulations for the Operation of Industrial Establishments are expected to cost them four times as much for each tonne of contaminants released into the air and into the air. water, according to the government.

“This amendment was necessary. We haven't had a real increase since the measure was launched in 1993, it's been 30 years essentially. »

— Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment of Quebec

The base rate used to establish the amounts that companies must pay for the discharges of contaminants covered by this regulation would increase from $2.20 to $9.08 per ton.

The cost also varies depending on the toxicity of the contaminants. For example, the Horne Foundry in Rouyn-Noranda, which emits arsenic levels in the air above the standards, will have to pay much higher duties.

The weighting factor, currently 200, for emissions of arsenic and cadmium, whose prolonged exposure poses a high risk to health, would be multiplied by 500. Thus, it would now cost almost a million dollars to companies for a ton of these contaminants released into the atmosphere, can we read in the government press release.

Minister Charette hopes that these changes will make it possible to reduce as much as possible the harmful effects of major polluters on people's health, in particular on people who live near large industrial complexes.

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 dlqbmr">Quebec Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette.

Also, the current ceiling of $1 million per year to be paid for the variable fees that apply to discharges into water, atmospheric emissions, mine tailings and organic residual materials from pulp and paper mills would be increased to $2 million annually.

The government expects to collect more than $10 million more annually through the new regulations. These sums should be used to improve the environmental performance of the industry and protect air and water quality, in addition to promoting the creation and development of green and innovative SMEs, according to the press release.

Minister Charette invites the public to make suggestions regarding the changes he wishes to make to some twenty regulations, including the Regulation respecting the operation industrial establishments.

Comments should be sent to no later than April 8, 2023.

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