The Province of Saskatchewan has introduced a draft Environmental Code, part of its move towards results-based environmental regulation to replace its current permit-based system. This approach is one that has been long supported by Gallon Environment Letter. Instead of providing detailed instructions to industry on equipment and operations through environmental permits, industry will be able to operate without environmental permits but will be required to meet specified environmental performance criteria. This will allow much greater opportunity for technology innovation and efficiency in industry and should mean that the provincial environment ministry spends more time enforcing environmental performance rather than dealing with permit applications.
However, the success or failure of a results-based system depends on the adequacy of the performance standards set by the government. The draft document published by Saskatchewan Environment has standards for industrial air sources, spills, management of hazardous materials, contaminated sites, water and sewer mains, many aspects of forest management, waste management, liquid waste, and other aspects of environmental management. Comments on the draft code are being solicited until March 16, 2012. Once approved, the Saskatchewan Environmental Code will have the full force of law.
Details of the new Code are available at http://www.environment.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=02fe0486-85da-472d-9bc5-ed8f8bb7d24c For the details, important to affected industries, click on the draft code link followed by the full text of the first edition of the code link. We provide this additional information on links because most other links lead only to the Code Summary which is useful but does not adequately explain the environmental performance standards that industries will be required to meet or exceed.