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California Environmental News

OEHHA’s Air Toxics Hot Spots Draft Guidance Manual Released

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released the Air Toxics Hot Spots Draft Guidance Manual in June 2014 and has been updated to incorporate new health studies. The draft Guidance Manual, part of California’s ongoing effort to address health risks from toxics, is open for public comments through August 4, 2014. The draft OEHHA risk assessment guidelines may trigger more stringent emission limits and rules for various areas, including the South Coast basin. Ways of calculating potential life time health risks have been updated in the draft Guidance Manual.

Based on the new scientific studies regarding early-life exposure to air toxics, OEHHA has made adjustments to estimating health risk. The draft Guidance Manual summarizes three Technical Support Documents focused on non-cancer risk, cancer risk, and exposure assessment. The Guidance Manual consolidates the information presented in these documents and provides methods for estimating health risks from subject facilities under the Air Toxics Hot Spots Information and Assessment Act.

A higher risk prioritization for many facilities may be expected. According to SCAQMD, the updated guidelines will create significant policy implications. SCAQMD indicated that OEHHA guidelines will cause cancer risks from emissions at many facilities to rise by a factor of three or more. Facilities may also be required to conduct health risk assessments as a result of the proposed guidance. SCAQMD is currently in the process of evaluating which district rules will be impacted by OEHHA's guidelines. Once OEHHA approves the changes to the guidelines, California Air Resources Board will develop a software program for the hot spots program to incorporate the changes to help estimate risks. The software is expected to be available for use in early 2015.

Compliance Regulations for Trucks and Buses in California

Friday, July 25, 2014

The compliance dates for trucks and buses subject to California Air Resources Board’s (ARB’s) regulation for in-use on-road diesel-fuel vehicles have started as early as 2012 for vehicles with a gross vehicle rate rating (GVWR) greater than 26,000 pounds. These vehicles were required to install particulate matter (PM) filters and will now be subject to the best available control technology (BACT) engine requirements as early as January 1, 2015. Small fleets and vehicles with a GVWR of 26,000 or less will have similar upcoming requirements. Recently ARB approved amendments for extensions, exemptions, and financing options for certain vehicles.

Please note that there are other requirements such as registration, odometer requirements, and reporting that are in currently in effect for all trucks and buses. For more information about ARB’s On-Road Regulation, please refer to their website.

If you would like to know more about the extensions and exemptions that may apply to you facility, please contact our office at (949) 567-9880.

August 2014 Cap-and-Trade GHG Allowance Auction Details Released

Friday, July 25, 2014

On June 19, 2014, California Air Resources Board (ARB) released the official auction notice with detailed requirements and instructions pertaining to participation in the greenhouse gas (GHG) allowance auction scheduled to take place on August 18, 2014 (the August 2014 Auction). Any California covered entity, opt-in covered entity, and voluntarily associated entity is eligible to participate in the August 2014 Auction provided that the entity has a Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS) account and completed other administrative pre-auction requirements. The August 2014 Auction will be conducted in the same manner as the previous GHG allowance auctions held by CARB. The auction will feature 2014 (current) vintage allowances as well as 2017 (advance) vintage allowances. Bidding will take place during a three-hour window on August 18, 2014. The table below shows the results of CARB’s previous GHG allowance auctions within the past year.

AuctionVintageAllowances Sold/Allowances OfferedSettlement Price
August 2013201313,865,422/13,865,422 (100%)$12.22
20169,560,000/9,560,000 (100%)$11.10
November 2013201316,614,526/16,614,526 (100%)$11.48
20169,560,000/9,560,000 (100%)$11.10
February 2014201419,538,695/19,538,695 (100%)$11.48
20179,260,000/9,260,000 (100%)$11.38
May 2014201416,947,080/16,947,080 (100%) $11.50
20174,036,000/9,260,000 (43.6%) $11.34

As shown by the table above, prior auctions have sold out for both current and future vintages. The August 2014 auction will feature the following allowances:

VintageAllowances OfferedReserve Price

The following list identifies important upcoming activities associated with the August 2014 Auction:

  • August 6, 2014 – Bid guarantees due to Financial Services Administrator
  • August 14, 2014 – CARB issues final approval and notification of auction participants
  • August 18, 2014 – GHG allowance auction held
  • August 21, 2014 – Public notice of auction results released
  • August 28, 2014 – Financial settlement due to Financial Services Administrator
  • September 8, 2014 – Transfer of allowances into CITSS accounts

Including the August 2014 auction, there are two auctions remaining in 2014 before the second Cap-and-Trade compliance period begins on January 1, 2015. After this date, the program cap will increase and transportation fuel sectors will enter the market. The auction notice document, which describes all pre-auction requirements and instructions in more detail, is available here.

August 2014 California-Quebec Practice Auction

Friday, July 25, 2014

On January 1, 2014, California’s Cap-and-Trade Program and Quebec’s Cap-and-Trade System officially linked, allowing Quebec-issued and California-issued offsets and allowances to be completely interchangeable. As a part of the linked programs, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) and Québec’s ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change) (MDDELCC) will hold joint GHG allowance auctions to allow market participants to acquire GHG allowances. On June 3, California and Quebec announced a practice auction to be held on August 7. The Auction Notice will be posted on July 29. A successful practice auction will pave the way to the two agencies holding the first joint auction of allowances in November 2014.

All information on the joint auctions can be found on the ARB Cap-and-Trade website.

ARB Off-Road Regulation Deadlines

Friday, July 25, 2014

The performance requirements for large fleets subject to California Air Resources Board’s (ARB) Off-Road Regulation came into effect July of this year. As of now, large fleets are expected to demonstrate compliance by either meeting the fleet average target rate for 2014 or best available control technology (BACT) requirements, as listed in the rule. Upcoming regulatory deadlines for all-sized fleets are shown in the table below.

Off-Road Regulation Performance Requirement Compliance Deadlines   

Fleet SizePerformance Requirement Deadline
LargeJuly 1, 2014 and January 1 of each subsequent year
MediumStarting January 1, 2017 and January 1 of each subsequent year
SmallStarting January 1, 2019 and January 1 of each subsequent year


Please note that there are other requirements of the regulation such as fleet reporting and labeling and restrictions on adding older vehicles which have come into effect prior to July of this year. For more information about ARB’s Off-Road Regulation, please refer to their website.

If you are unsure about the size of your fleet or need assistance with compliance options and exemptions for ARB’s Off-Road Regulation, please contact our office at (949) 567-9880.

SCAQMD RECLAIM Emissions Compliance Advisory: Fuel Usage Correction to Standard Conditions

Thursday, June 26, 2014

On April 4, 2014, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) issued a compliance advisory to remind all RECLAIM operators that SCAQMD Rules 2011 and 2012 require monitoring of gaseous fuels be expressed in scf (standard cubic feet). Standard gas conditions are, as defined in the rules, a temperature of 68 °F and a pressure of 1 atm. To meet standard conditions, fuel usage meters must have built-in temperature and pressure corrections. Alternatively, operators can make manual corrections based on pressure and temperature gauges installed at the fuel meter.

The provisions of this SCAQMD compliance advisory will go into effect and be enforced July 1, 2014. For any questions, contact Dr. Charles Lee at (949) 567-9880.