Steel plant gets a break on pollution limits

5 February 2016

Ontario government rules putting new pollution limits on the province's heavy industries come into effect July 1, but according to a report Thursday from the CBC, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is proposing to exempt eight companies, including the Sault's Essar Steel Algoma.

CBC says currently, Essar Steel Algoma has an exemption on the amount of "suspended particulate matter" it puts into the air (such as smoke, dust and ash) until December 31, 2020.

The same goes for U.S. Steel (Hamilton and Nanticoke), and ArcelorMittalDofasco (Hamilton), while the latter has until December 31, 2018 to cut down on sulphur emissions.

Some companies can apply for exemptions for up to 10 years.

The most recent exemption granted was to Glencore's Sudbury smelter, given a break on nickel emission limits until 2026, the CBC reports.

Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, is quoted by CBC as saying some companies will not be able to meet the new pollution rules straight away and need a bit of time to make technological upgrades to cut down on the amount of pollution they emit.

However, the exemptions are not indefinite.

The eight companies with exemptions, including the Sault's steel plant, are still expected to work to cut down their pollution during the exemption period with the technology they have.

Essar Steel Algoma management and Sault MPP David Orazietti were not immediately available for comment.