November 7, 2016
On October 7, 2016 Southern California air quality officials released a proposal to give more regulatory teeth to a smog-reduction plan that has faced criticism for its voluntary, industry-friendly approach according to a Los Angeles Times report.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District has revised a plan, originally released in June, to include additional regulations to cut emissions from diesel backup generators, water heaters, furnaces and other appliances. Among other changes, the agency also added a commitment to identify and consider new measures targeting oil refineries, ports, warehouses and other large facilities that are responsible for much of the pollution in the nation’s smoggiest region.
The changes come in response to what regulators acknowledge was a skeptical reaction to their first draft of the plan, which relies heavily on voluntary, “nonregulatory” measures that encourage, rather than force, polluters to adopt cleaner technology. The document, which will guide efforts to reduce pollution levels in Southern California over the next 15 years, calls for finding $1 billion a year for emissions-cutting incentive programs — a 10- to 20-fold increase over what is spent today.
Though the overall approach remains similar, language in the revised plan emphasizes that the agency “will make full use of its legal authorities to seek a cleaner air future” and will give priority to “maximizing emissions reductions” using battery, fuel cell and other zero-emissions technologies where possible.
The new plan also proposes giving “serious consideration” to ending a cap-and-trade program for smog-forming emissions from the region’s largest facilities and adopting traditional regulations in its place. The current program requires polluters to buy credits to cover their emissions, which is intended to provide a financial incentive to clean up their operations.
The Regional Clean Air Incentives Market, or RECLAIM program, has come under fire recently for failing to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions to the extent promised. Partly to blame is an oversupply of credits, which has allowed oil refineries and other large polluters to delay installing costly pollution controls.
Last December the AQMD board adopted oil industry-backed changes to the program that will cut less pollution and more slowly than agency staff had proposed. That decision has faced harsh criticism from state regulators and environmentalists, who say it violated state law and will hurt public health.
What this means to you
SCAQMD has released a proposal that puts more regulatory teeth to a highly criticized smog-reduction plan. AQMD’s revised plan includes additional regulations to cut emissions from diesel backup generators, water heaters, furnaces and other appliances. It also commits to consider new measures targeting oil refineries, ports, warehouses and other large facilities.
MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH to learn more about emission controls for stationary diesel engines.