Source: Environmental Protection Authority
Methyl bromide is a fumigant, mainly used to disinfect logs and timber products destined for export to certain countries. It is a toxic and ozone-depleting substance.
In 2010, a previous EPA decision-making committee reassessed methyl bromide and put in place new controls, which are rules and requirements for a substance’s use.
These controls included a ten-year deadline for users to adopt recapture technologies to collect and store any used gas.
The recapture control was due to come into force on 28 October 2020.
In early 2019 a group representing industry users of methyl bromide applied to have some controls for methyl bromide reviewed again, including the recapture control. This review process is currently underway.
This group recently applied to the decision-making committee to approve a short-term waiver to extend the current recapture control for methyl bromide. It said this was necessary because of the long lead-time for exports to India and how these might fit with the expected timing for the decision on the current reassessment.
In approving this request, the committee noted that this is a temporary measure to make sure the industry can continue to function while the main decision-making process is progressing. This process has involved public notification and submissions, and will include a public hearing.
The waiver does not influence or impact the ongoing decision-making process.
The deadline for methyl bromide users to adopt recapture technologies is now 28 April 2021, though this may be impacted by the reassessment decision.