The Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Air Quality) Regulations
The Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act enabled the implementation of the Air Quality Regulations and these regulations legislate for the licensing, monitoring, and collection of fees for emissions. These emissions specifically include the term GHGs, and name these. The regulations seem to refer only to industrial sources, specifying facilities and stack emissions. The implication of these regulations is that industrial emissions will be licensed, monitored and have fees levied against them.
Every owner of a major facility must apply for an air pollutant discharge licence and licensees must submit emissions reports for each calendar year. This report should contain estimates of the emissions for the year, based on the following details:
- Continuous emission monitoring data
- Calculation of SO2 emissions based on fuel use and sulphur content data (combustion processes in which exhaust gases do not come in contact with products)
- Most recent and representative stack monitoring measurements conducted in the previous five years and activity data for the year for which emissions are estimated
- AP42 emission factor or equivalent methods and activity data for the year
- AP42 emission factor or equivalent methods and plant capacity data
- Mass balance (including fuel use data) based on the two previous years or the most recent representative year
- Other approved methods supported by calculation and documentation
Further, the Regulations impose Discharge Fees on Licensees. Crucially, these fees are waived for emissions derived from the burning of renewable fuels, such as landfill gas and agricultural waste.
Where the regulations are not adhered to, sanctions may be applied to the licence holder. The management Authority (individual or body authorised under the regulations) may then:
- Issue a control order
- Impose administrative penalties
- Suspend or revoke any licence
- Refuse an application for renewal of any licence
- Apply to the Supreme Court for an injunction to prohibit the operation of the facility or any source at the facility
The regulations also mandate the development of a National Emissions Inventory to track air quality, which should be made available to the public and reported to the House of Representatives at least once every three years.