Good morning, everyone and welcome. We don't have everybody here, but we have enough to get the meeting started, and the rest will join us shortly.
We have some excellent groups with us today.
We have Philip Jessop by video conference. He's a professor from the department of chemistry at Queen's University.
We have Todd Beasley, founder, technology co-inventor, and chief operating officer at Canadian Chemical Reclaiming Technologies Ltd.
We have Michael Burt, the corporate director, regulatory and government affairs, at Dow Chemical Canada Inc.
Finally, we have Kerry Doyle, president, and Chris Bush, operations manager, at KPD Consulting Ltd.
Welcome to all.
We usually start with the video conference just in case we lose it. We want to ensure that doesn't happen.
I'm going to let you know a little bit about the process here to try and help. You have 10 minutes to make your statement. When you have one minute to go, I will put up a yellow card to let you know that time is running out. Once the red card goes up, you're passed your time. I don't want you to stop mid-sentence, but just finish your sentence and wrap it up. If all of you could follow that, that would be fantastic.
We'll begin with Philip Jessop. Dr. Jessop, over to you.
Let's look at the second slide.
I want to make sure we're all on the same page in terms of what the meaning is of the words “green chemistry”.
Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. The important word here is “reduce”, because it makes it a comparison. Green chemistry is not an absolute. Nothing is absolutely green in any way at all; it's always a comparison. Green, as an adjective, means “less hazardous than what was used before”, and therefore, it must be a comparison between two or more things. You cannot have a single object that is green. This is a source of a lot of misunderstanding with the public and even in scientific papers where they claim that something is green. Sometimes it's misleading because they have not done a valid comparison.
Green chemistry differs from pollution control and also from pollution prevention because green chemistry emphasizes design or redesign to avoid the use or generation of hazardous substances, rather than emphasizing a mechanical means to collect pollutants before they leave the factory. We'd rather not have the pollutants generated in the first place.
I have four suggestions on how to foster innovation in green chemistry, and I'd like to talk about each of those four during my 10 minutes.
First, we have the idea of strengthening the funding programs that are most successful at leading to new technologies in the area of green chemistry and innovative new technologies. In my mind, this has been for a long time the discovery grants program within NSERC. It has been responsible for most of the new ideas being generated at chemistry and chemical engineering departments across Canada.
The other programs at NSERC are valuable for taking those technologies further, but it's the discovery grants system that funds the initial discoveries. This is something I've seen and something that GreenCentre Canada has seen across the country. The discovery grants system is crucial to continuing innovation in the area of green chemistry in Canada.
It's crucial because if professors have only a grant, and this is the one they have, it's a flexible program. I used to be a researcher at the University of California, Davis, where I was a professor. The American funding system is inferior, in my opinion, because they don't have an equivalent program to the discovery grants. Discovery grants are flexible. If you find something that's better or greener than what you originally proposed, then you are allowed in Canada to pursue that, whereas in the U.S. you would be prevented from doing so.
Second is the need to build a better commercialization pathway. Professors like myself, or others across Canada, who find a new and green technology due to their research often have a difficult time getting it commercialized. Even though Canada is, in my opinion, world leading in the area of green chemistry research, we're not world leading in terms of commercialization, and this is not restricted to green chemistry.
The problem is the method by which we commercialize the technologies. For example, if an academic professor in chemistry has invented a new technology, we cannot only have that discovery, we can prove it works in a beaker on a bench, and we can make grams of sample. I've had this experience several times. One time I invented a new surfactant, and companies called me and said, “This is wonderful, we think this is great. We want to commercialize this, and license this technology. Can you give us 15 kilograms of sample, and can you tell us it's going to work on our oil field?” I said, “I can make you 15 grams, but I have no ability to make kilograms, and I have no idea about your oil field”. Then they walk away after saying, “Call us back when it's ready”. This is an example of what happens. There is a gap between what the professors are able to do and what industry is hoping to have before they're willing to run with the technology. There is a lot of de-risking, scale up, and further optimization that needs to happen before these technologies can find ready uptake in industry.
The next slide shows the reason I worked with Rui Resendes, who was a tech transfer officer at Queen's, to create a new entity called GreenCentre Canada, which did receive CECR funding from the federal government.
This is a centre for doing that middle work, that work that's required to take it from the point up to which professors can and do that middle scale-up, de-risking, optimization for industrial applications, intellectual property protection, and negotiations with industry, all that middle work that is difficult for professors to do. We have labs in Kingston. We have a scale-up facility in Mississauga. This is one model, but certainly not the only model that one can have to make a better pathway to get green technologies commercialized.
If you go to the next slide, I would like to talk briefly about barriers to commercialization of new technologies. It's not just the commercialization gap that's slowing down the commercialization of green chemistry technologies; there are other problems. For example, suppose someone has invented a new surfactant that's far more powerful. For those of you who are not chemists, a surfactant is a compound that will help oil and water mix and is very useful in many formulations such as shampoos and soaps. Suppose someone has invented a new surfactant which is much more powerful than an old surfactant. Let's call this new surfactant A. It is twice as damaging to the environment and health as the old surfactant B, but it is so powerful that you only need to use one-tenth of the amount to get your shampoo or formulation to work.
Overall, the shampoo is five times less damaging to the environment and health using this new surfactant than using an old one, but with regulations and guidelines in the U.S., and I expect in Canada as well—and I hope you're more familiar with these than I am—the problem is that they're often based upon the compounds and not the formulation. A compound such as surfactant A would be less likely to be approved because it is more damaging per gram than the old surfactants, or maybe more damaging compared to some kind of a threshold cut-off. The fact that the amount needed is far lower is not necessarily taken into account in the regulations.
How do you solve this? I think you solve it by using performance-based regulations, where you take into account the amount used, so something that is slightly more damaging per gram but is far more effective and less is needed would be taken into account. Therefore, if we want toxicity reduction, we shouldn't regulate how that toxicity reduction or environmental harm reduction is achieved, but rather regulate the outcome. The shampoo or whatever should be less damaging to the environment rather than the individual compounds.
It's the same for technologies. We could regulate. Instead of saying that you must use technology A, say rather, “We want you to meet performance measure A.” Then different ways of achieving that performance and that harm reduction can be considered by industry.
If you go to the next slide, there is another scenario that can inhibit the adoption of new technologies. Regulations that require certification of new chemicals or technologies, such as the one that you guys are currently reviewing, can make it risky and expensive for industry to adopt greener chemicals. For example, if industry for some application could use chemical A, which is more damaging to health and the environment, but is already certified and has already gone through that process, or chemical B which is believed to be much less damaging to health and the environment but is not yet certified, then industry will be more tempted to go with chemical A despite the benefits of chemical B, because the extra cost and extra risk of obtaining the certification is a barrier and a disincentive to adopt a greener technology. How do you solve this? We have to incentivize industrial partners to participate in the de-risking of the newer chemicals and the newer technologies.
GreenCentre does help with the optimization and early scale-up, but it is certainly not funded well enough to handle more than one pilot project at one time, because the pilot plant development is too expensive, so GreenCentre is not big enough to do more than one at a time.
NSERC funds development work, but the funding tends to fade out once you get to pilot stage or beyond. In my opinion and that of other people at GreenCentre, the development process and the funding for it is weakest at the pilot and post-pilot stage, where the extra expense and the extra risk of new technologies versus older compounds or technologies intimidates—
I want to thank the committee members for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of Dow Canada. I'd like to begin by letting the members know a little bit about the company which I represent here today.
The Dow Chemical Company is a 119-year-old global company which is a market-driven, industry-leading specialty chemical, advanced materials, agro sciences and plastics company which delivers a broad range of technical-based products and solutions.
We are the second largest chemical company in the world by sales. We operate in 179 sites in over 35 counties. Our global workforce is approximately 55,000 individuals with global revenue exceeding $50 billion annually. Our global headquarters are in Midland, Michigan, and Calgary, Alberta, is home to our Canadian office. We believe that Dow helps bring the global marketplace to Canada and also takes Canada across the globe.
Dow first established its Canadian operations in Sarnia, Ontario, in 1942. It's the first site that Dow located outside the United States and we have continued operations in Canada for almost 75 years. In Canada, Dow currently has manufacturing operations in Alberta, where we produce ethylene, polyethylene, and electricity, mainly serving the North America and Pacific Rim markets. In Ontario, we specialize in the manufacture of water-based emulsions that go into end products such as latex paint. In Quebec, we produce styrofoam SM brand insulation to build energy efficient homes.
Dow Canada is a founding member of Responsible Care, which is focused on responsible and sustainable chemical manufacturing since 1985, which is now practised in over 62 countries worldwide. We are committed to the ethic and principles for sustainability of responsible care. We dedicated ourselves, our technology, and our business practices to sustainability, the betterment of society, the environment, and the economy.
At Dow, we have long been and remain committed to applying science expertise to create sustainable solutions to some of the world's greatest challenges. We are focused on fulfilling our pipeline and harnessing the passion of individuals to work on products with the largest potential sustainability impacts. With more than 96% of all manufactured products enabled by chemistry, the solutions to sustainable development come down to the most basic elements in our universe. They come down to the power of chemistry. Dow uses science and innovation to develop more sustainable, safer solutions for the world.
We manufacture insulation products used by the building industry to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions.
We manufacture innovative products and technologies that enable more sustainable use and management of water across the water value chain.
We manufacture structural adhesives that enable automotive engineers to design vehicles for maximum weight-saving and reduction of fuel consumption and emissions.
We manufacture innovative water based polymers that reduce the use of energy intensive paint pigments and improve indoor air quality.
At the R&D Magazine's prestigious 2015 R&D 100 Awards, Dow was once again highlighted as a leading innovator, having the greatest number of finalists and winners of any single developer. In fact, since the green chemistry awards were initiated in 1996, Dow has won nine times, which is more than double any other company.
CEPA and the chemicals management plan have been an integral part of the legislation that has enabled Dow to operate in Canada and is a model for managing environmental performance and chemical development throughout Canada and internationally. This is readily apparent in the Canadian model potentially being adopted in numerous countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru.
Under CEPA and CMP, Dow has been able to run a successful chemical manufacturing business and reduce its environmental footprint. Since 1999, when CEPA was introduced, Dow Canada has reduced priority chemical emissions by 90%, a substance grouping which includes ozone-depleting substances, PTBs, persistent toxic bioaccumulative substances, known carcinogens, and high-volume toxics. We have reduced our chemical emissions by 41% and GHG emissions by 21%.
Since the beginning of the first CMP 10 years ago, the Government of Canada has assessed approximately 2,740 of the 4,300 substances identified for assessment. Approximately 87% of these science-based assessments concluded that the substance was not harmful to human health or the environment. Where the risk was found to be unacceptable, risk management instruments for substances or substance groups have been developed to reduce the risk to the public.
Dow Canada is not aware of any other jurisdiction in the world that has moved forward as efficiently and effectively with chemicals management as the Government of Canada. CMP is a world-leading program that we promote in other jurisdictions.
We promote CMP because decisions are based on risk assessments which consider best available technology, weight of evidence, and appropriate use of precaution.
Assessment decisions and risk management proposals are released, maximizing transparency. Risk management actions target identified risks for reduction. Risk managers select the best available instrument to reduce risk, regardless of the statute.
The risk assessment and risk management process are well defined and communicated. The process provides opportunities for stakeholders to inform both the assessment and the development of risk management measures. The burden of proof is appropriately shared between the government and industry. Confidential business information is protected under CEPA, and CEPA provides a formal review process for dispute resolution. Stakeholders have the opportunity to engage in science and program development via the advisory panels.
We face hazards and associated risks every day in our lives. As an example, there are hazards associated with risks for all modes of transportation, from walking to flying. In most cases, these hazards are well known, yet we don't ban transportation because there is a societal benefit. Rather, we manage the risk by reducing the hazard where possible and reducing our exposure to scientific hazards.
Parents instruct their children to look both ways before crossing the street. Governments set and enforce speed limits. Governments set safety standards for all modes of transportation, and airports implement security measures. In a similar fashion, the chemical management plan identifies and manages the risks associated with the manufacture, import, and use of chemicals that deliver solutions essential to human progress and sustainable development.
Assessment decisions based on risk and selection of measures to reduce specific risks are essential to our work to improve people's lives and the environment while striving to do no harm. This is a fundamental principle of responsible care.
Consider the example from CMP risk assessments. A CMP risk assessment of acrylamide concluded that it met the criteria in paragraph 64(c) of CEPA. As such, risk management measures were required, to reduce the risk of harm to Canadians. Measures implemented under the Food and Drug Act targeted the primary exposure of concern, which was food. Other beneficial uses of acrylamide were not impacted, such as the manufacture of innovative water-based polymers used in paint, which are an alternative to more environmentally harmful materials.
Assessment decisions based solely on hazard and management measures limited to chemical bans would make a substance such as acrylamide unavailable to Canadian enterprise, negatively and needlessly impacting innovation and the availability of innovative products.
Labelling of a substance as toxic under CEPA and the associated stigma has been problematic for industry. Substances are added to schedule 1 following a risk-based assessment; however, the public and increasingly our consumers view the list of toxic substances through a hazard lens: all substances listed are dangerous in all applications and at all levels. This is simply not the case.
The practical application of schedule 1 is the identification of substances requiring varying degrees of risk management. Ultimately, the risk management measures define the permitted, restricted, and prohibited use of a substance. As such, schedule 1 is a list of substances requiring risk management, not just understood as being toxic, and could be renamed to represent that reality.
With the debate on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, we believe the science should continue to be developed by the risk assessors and endocrine disrupters continue to be considered in assessments wherever appropriate. There is no need to take special consideration of endocrine disruption into CEPA. The potential bioactivity and its effects on potentially exposed subpopulations are already being examined as part of the regulatory process for new and existing chemicals.
In summary, the one point I'd like to leave the committee with is that CEPA and CMP are working. After 16 years, it's prudent to take a look at legislation to see where improvements can be made, but to suggest that the act is not achieving its desired effect is wrong. Let's continue with improving the management of chemicals in Canada by ensuring that the remaining chemicals are assessed and appropriately managed by the 2020 deadline. Excellent progress has been made to date, and we need to continue to move forward.
Thank you very much for the opportunity. I look forward to your questions.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Madam Chair, I want to thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak here this morning. I am truly honoured. I hope the information I'll present will be helpful and most certainly thought-provoking in this most topical of conversations.
The essence of my testimony and presentation here today is that right now, technology exists and is operating on a massive commercial scale, capturing low-pressure carbon dioxide from a large industrial smokestack. Moreover, it's turning what's currently considered a waste stream into a significant value-added component. Indeed, in certain circumstances the use of a particular form of carbon dioxide can quite literally unlock a king's ransom for Canada, its citizens, and ultimately its taxpayers.
The technology can be applied to virtually every industry that produces massive quantities of low-pressure carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide, including natural gas processing, petrochemical refining, steel manufacturing, fertilizer production, cement industries, as well as pulp and paper.
What's most exciting to me is that this technology represents the very best of what Canada can accomplish when we're appropriately motivated. It was invented by a fellow from Montreal by the name of Leo Hakka, easily one of the brightest doctoral chemists I've ever met. At one point, the technology darn near died but was saved by the Province of Quebec, either through the Quebec pension fund or the teachers' fund. Eventually, Shell Technology Ventures acquired it and was able to focus its exceptional financial and human resources, taking it to where it is today. It has now been reduced to practice as a result of the superb leadership of Brad Wall's Saskatchewan government at the Boundary Dam lignite, coal-fired power plant at Estevan, Saskatchewan. Significant real improvements have recently been made by my company, CCR Technologies, which is proudly based in Brooks, Alberta.
Indeed, if Canada's going to meet its COP21 treaty obligations, this technology will be crucial and strategic to meet those goals. Many feel that we will not meet COP21 without the capabilities of this technology.
I consider myself an objective man of science, so I say that in this context for the next half of this presentation. What I'm about to say may sound like a contradiction, folks. It's not. I will present with a firm and steadfast resolution that we should all question the current narrative on global warming and its causes from a position that we most certainly do not need massive societal changes and unnecessary and arbitrary taxes. Most important, no one needs to lose their job over this. If we do it right, Canada can make a fortune in this activity.
Why should we consider the current narrative on global warming? Because no less than the head of physics at Princeton University, the professor of meteorology at MIT, professors at the Pasteur Institute, professors of atmospheric sciences at the University of Alabama, the professor of climatology at the University of Manitoba, the founder of Greenpeace, and many others question this current narrative. They use words like “biggest fraud in mankind's history”, “nothing but propaganda and misinformation”, “grossly exaggerated results in order to promote their cause”, “mass media propaganda masquerading as the truth”. IPCC's supposed consensus is neither a peer-reviewed science nor anywhere close to a consensus.
Other societal problems are much more urgent. Folks, if we're going to have a Canadian Manhattan project, I'd like to see Canada curing cancer. What a national goal that would be. We have it within us to do just that.
In addition, major scientific institutions such as NASA and the centre for nuclear research, CERN, have recently put out press releases offering significant proof that these scientists are right. You might have heard about the global sea ice on our poles and how it's been receding. Folks, on December 21, 2015, a NASA Goddard press release stated that new satellite analysis showed that the Antarctic sea ice has shown a net gain of 112 billion tonnes of ice every year from 1992 to 2001, and from 2003 to 2008 Antarctic sea ice has expanded every year with a net gain of 82 billion tonnes of ice. The implication is that the earth is cooling; it's not heating up. This directly contradicts the IPCC statements with scientific facts.
In May 2016, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, issued a press release. You may have heard of the large hadron collider. This is the most significant science experiment currently under way that mankind is embarking upon. Their press release stated that their analysis directly contradicts the IPCC position in that their research concludes global warming is entirely natural.
These are not scientists to be glibly dismissed, period. Before you make legislative change, I would implore you to fully investigate these positions. In fact, I would suggest you invite some of these scientists to this committee before you make your recommendations.
Folks, back to the issue at hand. All of that being said, air pollution is not okay. I don't think anyone is arguing that. Indeed, we must clean up our industrial messes, particularly when it's economically and technically advantageous to do so.
My message here today is this: we have a pollution problem, but what it is not is an existential threat to mankind. Current clean air legislation, perhaps with some slight modifications, is more than adequate to protect our environment. Moreover, I believe that the best Canada can accomplish in this argument is to show leadership in developing and fully maturing technology that the rest of the world can then confidently adopt, not because of taxation and legislation, but because it makes economic and technical sense to do so.
Fundamentally, the answer to this is technology. The technology I'm referring to is a very well-established field of science called gas treating. It originated in the 1940s. In the early 1950s, there was a family of chemicals called ethanolamines developed and they allow the absorption of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide from gas streams, primarily from natural gas.
When it was first developed, it was required to have at least 350 pounds of pressure in order for that technology to work. Key advances in the 1980s allowed for the ethanolamine chemistry to be applied to low-pressure applications, in effect, atmospheric absorption. I use the analogy of a bottle of pop. You can put carbon dioxide into pop when it's kept under pressure, and ethanolamines act in a very similar way. They have the ability to absorb impurities and the ability to move them and concentrate them.
The Boundary Dam project is the world's first attempt at utilizing the technology for post-combustion carbon capture from a lignite coal-fired power plant. The technology is intersecting stack emissions and removing these airborne pollutants virtually completely. The Saskatchewan government, together with Shell Cansolv technologies, has installed the scrubbing technology at Boundary Dam. CCR Technologies is supporting the program by developing chemistry purification systems.
The implications of this technology are massive, folks, and world changing. Currently installed in one stack out of five, the technology is working and being continuously improved. Scrubbing the emissions from one stack alone at Boundary Dam—Madam Chair, here's the point—the technologies are removing the equivalent of the city of Regina's daily emissions, every car, every truck, every home, water heater, furnace, every streetlight, every industry, virtually everything. Imagine the impact of this technology as it's expanded worldwide. Indeed, the Boundary Dam plant is the standard with which the world powers itself. There are over 7,500 plants around the world exactly like Boundary Dam.
Without delving too far into the science, the Reader's Digest condensed version is that two ethanolamine chemical families are used at Boundary Dam. The first chemical solution is simultaneously scrubbing the sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide from the flue gas. This gas is then concentrated and introduced to a second scrubbing system where the two are separated. The sulphur dioxide creates a value-added by-product: acid and then fertilizer. The carbon dioxide is compressed to a super-critical state and subsequently injected into stable geologic formations for storage, sequestering, or in the case of Boundary Dam, for enhanced oil recovery.
To give you an idea of the impact of this technology right now, it is expected this year that the Boundary Dam single stack capture program will capture and sequester 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is not the equivalent of a solar panel or a wind generator.
I'll quickly move on to super-critical carbon dioxide. As you compress it in conditions in excess of 1,047 pounds per square inch at 37°, it becomes a massive and significant super-solvent. If we inject it into oil reservoirs or stable geologic formations that have lost their pressure, ultimately it can unlock a significant financial resource for Canada. I believe over $200 billion was transferred from the west to east because of oil revenue, and I think it's strategically important to Canada that we keep that going.
Fundamentally, treating technologies' role is absolutely crucial to this technology. Much like the oil in your car, by keeping it clean, if it was clean always, your engine would never wear out.
Good morning, Madam Chair and members. Thank you very much for this opportunity. We're quite excited to be a part of this review of CEPA 1999. We sincerely hope that this looking back will help us all move forward better.
To begin, I'd like to point out that as reported in 2014, agriculture and agrifood systems are directly responsible for $108.1 billion or 6.6% of Canada's gross domestic product, and provide one in eight jobs in Canada, employing over 2.3 million people.
In preparation for this appearance, I noted that CEPA 1999 says virtually nothing directly about agriculture. I also noted that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture has urged the government to engage the farming community more widely in the CEPA five-year parliamentary review process.
In the current landscape of Canadian manure management law, a great deal can be gained in a short time. Miller Thomson lawyers did a very good body of work that's an overview of this. It points out that virtually nothing in the federal laws controls agriculture nutrient application other than a little bit in the Fisheries Act, specifically section 36. Otherwise, the federal role is primarily advisory and supportive of the regulatory initiatives of the provinces, which vary greatly.
Miller Thomson has been quite active in this space, sounding the alarm for what they see as the coming storm. We need to be prepared for what's happening around us. Farms are being held responsible for their environmental impact. Agriculture is a very large part of the economic landscape of Canada, but it's recognized as also having a very significant environmental footprint.
All governments are responsible for protecting their citizens from the actions of others. This is evident from the many legal proceedings that are going on or have already been decided. It's clearly evident from the impact on airsheds and waterways, that the current systems aren't working well.
An additional point of interest is that in 2014, when Miller Thomson put that presentation on, there were five different groups that did presentations in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia on exactly the same topic, with exactly the same information, trying to reach exactly the same audience, but none of them achieved critical mass where they actually got anything done.
I believe Mr. Doyle and I are well placed to speak to this committee. We've both been active in this space, Mr. Doyle for more than 25 years, specifically addressing soil and water through nutrient extraction and utilization. I've spent more than 10 years working in methane capture and cleaning, building the first anaerobic digester for agriculture in British Columbia, which was the first to scrub the gas and put it in the utility grid in North America. We've both been part of the second on-farm digester to do this. I was supporting the operations and cleaning that up.
Recently, we were able as a team to keep a $3-million research and development pilot plant asset from leaving the country. It was paid for by the Canadian government. It is now placed at this farm where the rest of this technology is. Mr. Jessop referenced the need, that gap in industry. This is now an industry-owned asset. It is a pilot plant that can take ideas from the lab bench, working with academics, to the pilot plant scale, and then directly into commercial scale right outside our door. We welcome the academic community as well as other members that have technologies that can support this.
In large part, we're here today because Mr. Doyle has been recognized by the White House through the U.S. EPA as delivering one of the 10 best technologies available in the country to address these challenges. It should stand out to this committee that in America, the EPA is responsible for looking after these things. Ultimately, regardless of whatever is deferred to the provinces or other bodies such as the CFIA or the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, if there's trouble, it will roll back up to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada.
I've been serving with Mr. Doyle for more than 18 months now. I recognize that the only way we're going to reach these targets and achieve these solutions is through systemic answers. If we will come together, there are a lot of different technologies out there. They're scattered all over the place. There is no organization. We need some sort of an overarching strategy. I believe this body of work can provide that. If we have some structure, if we have some recognizable mapping of the landscape, then we can start to make a difference and do what Canada is able to do.
We will see a day when the milk that comes out of dairy farms, for example, is a by-product, because progressively, as technology is applied, we're seeing more and more value coming out of what's seen currently as waste.
A couple of recent things have happened. Ontario has just launched a $100-million program to support renewable natural gas programs. California has just mandated management of greenhouse gas emissions with a specific mandate to look after greenhouse gases through renewable natural gas projects.
I believe Mr. Doyle, our witness, has been elevated recently. On June 1, British Columbia signed what's called the Pacific coast climate leadership action plan. It unites three American states with British Columbia to derive solutions of all kinds to address the challenges systemically.
Washington state just passed House Bill 2634, which shifts some of the funding that's been made available to various municipal waste and other streams to deal with environmental challenges over to agriculture, because they recognize a dollar spent addressing challenges, addressing these opportunities in agriculture, is the best possible dollar they can spend. It has far more impact.
We have four recommendations: that the committee look at the new CEPA in a more holistic or, as other witnesses have said, a more whole-of-government way; that the committee glean from what has been done in other jurisdictions and countries to identify the proven best practices and policies to create a balanced approach to environmental protection specific to agriculture that also respects the economic sustainability of Canada; that an overarching policy framework for agriculture become a meaningful component of the CEPA; and that industry-led intelligent business programs like the national industrial symbiosis program, for example, which Canada signed on to in 2012, be used as a mechanism to derive these answers.
Am I under 10 minutes?
That's a good question. I appreciate it.
The numbers I gave you on some of the emission reductions that I spoke about in my notes are Canadian-specific; they are not global. But as a global company, you can understand that we spread our R and D across the globe as much as we can. The focus is mainly on the U.S., but in Canada, all the initiatives I've given when I spoke about a reduction in GHGs and our priority chemicals involve Canadian numbers.
From a sustainability standpoint, as a submission to the panel I gave our 2025 sustainability goals, which comprise a global initiative. I can't pull numbers, I guess, off the top of my head for some of the Canadian issues that we have, but in our operations in Alberta and Quebec and in Ontario we have made a substantial reduction in the chemicals of concern that have come up.
In Quebec, we have a credit position when it comes to our GHGs, which we transfer to our operations in California. Quebec and California have a program whereby you can transfer GHG credits between those two jurisdictions. One issue we've undertaken in our older operations in Sarnia has been to clean up a lot of the sites we had as we initially sited our operations in Sarnia but, because of economic considerations and lack of feedstock, transferred in large part to Alberta.
From a Canadian perspective then, we're very much in line with meeting our global goals, but I'd be more than happy to submit some information specific to Canadian goals at a later date to the panel as well.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you very much to the witnesses today.
Kerry and Chris, when this committee was first formed, I said that the environment is our biggest challenge, but what a lot of people don't recognize, and you guys do, is that it's also our biggest opportunity: take an environmental issue, find a solution, create economic value, and provide jobs. That is equally true of waste water and sludge treatment as it is with mercury-bearing light bulbs and how you handle them at the end of their life. Find a solution, create economic value, provide jobs.
This is an amazing example of the green economy and things that we talk about in government all the time. I'm really interested in your inspiration for this, your struggles, how does something like this come about? Do you see that as a problem first and then as a possible economic opportunity?
Is this something you want to do? Do you want to green the earth? What type of struggles do you have when you're trying to do this? Is it finding markets for the pieces?
My last question for you folks would be, how can we encourage more companies to see this as an economic opportunity?
Our first project, actually, was implemented in Delta, British Columbia, and it was sponsored partly by Investment Agriculture. It enabled a 250-cow dairy to implement anaerobic digestion and bring off-farm materials to supplement that. Since then, they've been able to increase their herd size to virtually double, without increasing their footprint and actually reduce their impact environmentally by being able to concentrate nutrients and export them.
When we talk about manure, in the business we refer to it as nutrient management—phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. We want to control the deposits of that and the release.
The dairy that you're talking about in the United States is formerly known as Fair Oaks dairy. It's one of the most significant dairies in the United States. They milk about 15,000 cows, and the manure is brought to a central processing facility. All of that manure is managed within the scope of the dairy. It's done with a handful of people. What we were able to do is take the manure, once it was processed, extract the fibre, and develop a value chain with that separated, concentrate the nutrients through a technology that uses.... We're talking about separating particles in manure, particle size. In manure, there are basically two particle sizes: one millimetre and larger, which is 40% of it, and 25 microns and smaller, which is the other additional 40%. The large pieces can be separated, captured mechanically. Everything that's 25 microns and smaller needs to be chemically extracted, and that's where the use of polyacrylamides and other elements that we're looking to do....
That process creates a highly concentrated sludge that we further process into what we refer to as a cake. That cake is a solid material that would be contained...90% of the nutrients, and it would be something that you could pick up with a loader and move and land apply many miles away. It can be further processed to a granule, and that granule can be sold at Walmart, Home Depot, or anywhere that you would buy fertilizer.