The territorial government wants to start charging resource extraction and transportation companies for exceeding a yearly cap for air contaminants.
The territory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources is proposing that new air regulations be created under the Northwest Territories Environmental Protection Act in line with similar policies across Canada.
The government says air quality is largely unregulated in the territory, which has resulted in a gap in environmental protection and a lack of clarity for proponents conducting business in the NWT.
Amendments to the act would force companies to pay fees for going over emission limits for dust, fumes, smoke, gases, acids and other substances.
For every tonne of air contaminant above a certain threshold, companies would be forced to pay $10.
The government says potential changes to the territory’s air regulations would apply to the whole of the Northwest Territories in an effort to prevent pollution and keep clean areas clean.
Under the proposed NWT Air Regulatory Framework, larger operations like mines would have to apply for an air permit and report on whether they’re meeting the conditions of that permit.
On the other hand, smaller operations like wood pellet manufacturers would not need a permit but would still have to register.
Over the next month, the government will hold a number of consultations and engagement sessions before producing a draft bill in the legislature as early as this winter.
Following that, the plan is for territorial environment minister Wally Schumann to sign off on the regulations as early as the spring of 2017.