Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent and Saskatchewan's Minister of Environment Ken Cheveldayoff have announced that they are working toward an equivalency agreement on coal-fired electricity greenhouse gas regulations.
Both governments wish to avoid duplication of effort to control greenhouse gas emissions and are working together to ensure that industry does not face two sets of regulations. An equivalency agreement would see the federal regulations stand down in favour of a provincial regulation, as long as the provincial regulation achieves an equivalent or better environmental outcome.
"The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are steadfast in their commitment to address climate change," said Kent. "We remain focused on our mutual goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity, but want to ensure that Saskatchewan has the flexibility to choose an approach that best suits its circumstances."
"Saskatchewan looks forward to working with the federal government to negotiate an equivalency agreement that reflects our unique circumstances, and advances the technology and innovation required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Cheveldayoff said. "This agreement will provide the flexibility needed to implement clean coal and carbon capture and storage technology at Boundary Dam 3 and other coal-fired plants in Saskatchewan."
Saskatchewan is the second province to work with the Government of Canada on an equivalency agreement for coal-fired electricity regulations, with the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia having made a similar announcement earlier this spring.
In August 2011, the federal government proposed new regulations for the electricity sector that will apply a stringent performance standard to new coal-fired electricity generation units and those coal-fired units that have reached the end of their economic life. Final regulations are expected to be published later this summer.
Tackling emissions from coal-fired electricity generation, which represents 11 per cent of Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions, will go a long way towards meeting Canada's target of a 17 per cent reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels, by 2020.