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CGC calls on Ontario premier to suspend regulation


June 20, 2012
By CNW Group

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June 20, 2012, Toronto – The Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC) wrote to Premier Dalton McGuinty Tuesday asking
for the immediate suspension of Regulation O.98/12.

June 20, 2012, Toronto – The Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC) wrote to Premier Dalton McGuinty Tuesday asking
for the immediate suspension of Regulation O.98/12. The CGC says it has learned
of more than 30 recent lay-offs at drilling companies and is expecting
additional layoffs for system designers, installers as well as product
manufacturers and distributors across the province.

The CGC says the regulation is ill-conceived and hastily-written, and hurts Ontario's green
energy industry, hurts Ontario's small business and unfairly targets
geothermal drilling. It has recommended that companies involved in
geothermal drilling more systematically follow long-established safety
guidelines used for comparable drilling activities within Ontario while
more thorough and fair regulation is drafted and publicly consulted.

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On April 20, a driller encountered natural gas while drilling a
geothermal borehole in Oakville. This incident triggered a series of
events which led to the adoption of Ontario Regulation O.98/12. The
regulation requires drilling companies to apply for an environmental
compliance approval (ECA) per the Environmental Protection Act. For the
purpose of the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), ECAs are classified
as Class II instruments and are subject to a minimum of 45 days posting
on the Environmental Registry. As a result, as of June 19, there
will be no drilling for geothermal purposes in Ontario until at least
the end of August.

"This regulation was adopted in a few days without any industry or
public consultation. Government officials seem to be improvising rules
on a daily basis as they attempt to adapt the ECA process to geothermal
drilling," said Denis Tanguay, president and CEO of the CGC. "The Ontario
geothermal heat pump industry deserves a regulatory framework that is
developed through proper consultation. The current improvised
regulation is equivalent to a province-wide stop-work order for all
geothermal drilling for an extended and unknown period of time for no
valid technical, scientific reason," he added.

The CGC is also highly concerned that in an already tight and difficult
market, the regulation can create market imbalances among drilling
companies. This regulation has the adverse effect of helping the
strongest companies eliminate their competitors. It is not a desirable
outcome for the industry, consumers, or for the government.