The province will modernize the environmental assessment process for small oil refineries, while protecting the environment.
Currently, any refinery producing more than 15,000 litres of fuel per day must undergo a Class II environmental assessment.
Changes to regulations under the Environment Act will increase that limit to more than 200,000 litres. Refineries producing between 15,000 and 200,000 litres of fuel per day would undergo a Class I environmental assessment.
For context, the Irving refinery in Saint John, N.B. processes about 14 million litres of fuel per day.
These changes also clarify that any facility that produces fuel from wood is considered a refinery and requires an environmental assessment.
A Class I environmental assessment typically takes 50 days to complete. A Class II environmental assessment usually takes 275 days to complete and requires that the province appoint an environmental assessment review panel.
Both processes require that a company identify risks to the environment and come up with a plan to mitigate them. Any decision in either process is made based on science and the best available evidence.