Another major polluter in this region is asking for more time to meet provincial air quality standards.

Essar Steel Algoma is requesting what is known as a site-specific standard for its steel mill in Sault Ste Marie.

At a community meeting tonight in Sault Ste Marie, Essar will share more about its request for a site-specific standard.

The steelmaker says it needs more time to meet air quality standards issued by the Ministry of the Environment.

Millions have been spent to reduce particulate matter released into the air, said company spokesperson Brenda Stenta. But Essar still has the potential to exceed what's allowed during maximum production.

“This will provide for an alternate standard for particulate emissions based on our commitment to implement a continuous improvement plan over the course of the next three years,” she said.

Improving environmental performance

The application for an exemption must also come with a plan, a spokesperson with the Ministry of the Environment said.

“The company has to demonstrate to us that they have a plan in place to reduce emissions over time and improve their environmental performance,” Kate Jordan said. “How they propose to do that is ultimately up to them.”

The ministry will review Essar's application and make a decision on whether the exemption is warranted.

A few years back, it was people in Sudbury who were hearing about a “site-specific standard.” At that time, the mining company Vale had requested an exemption after it was unable to meet new air quality standards.

Eventually Vale was granted a site-specific exemption in 2011.

The company is still working through $1 billion worth of smelter upgrades that will drop sulphur dioxide emissions by 85 per cent by 2016.

The public meeting for Essar's application to the ministry of environment runs from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday Oct 16 at the West End Community Centre in Sault Ste Marie.