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Publications

California Environmental News

Imperial County Released Draft 2013 SIP for PM2.5

Saturday, October 25, 2014

In 2006, the EPA reduced the 24-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 µm or less (PM2.5). As a result, Imperial County was designated as a non-attainment area for the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS and was required to submit a State Implementation Plan (SIP) to the EPA by December 2012. Due to a court ruling, the final due date for the SIP submittal was pushed back until December 2014.

In order to comply with the non-attainment area designation requirements, Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (ICAPCD) has developed a draft 24-hour PM2.5 SIP. ICAPCD held a preliminary workshop on October 1, 2014 to introduce the SIP and begin receiving public comments. As discussed at the workshop, the SIP has been developed to include the following requirements:

  • Analysis of PM2.5 and PM2.5 precursor concentrations;
  • Best available emission inventory;
  • Emission control strategies to achieve attainment such as “Reasonably Available Control Measures” (RACM) and “Reasonably Available Control Technology” (RACT);
  • Transportation conformity; and
  • Border strategic concepts.

Several existing rules were evaluated, including, but not limited to, architectural coatings, agriculture, asphalt manufacturing, aerospace, solvents and combustion equipment. For more information, please review the Draft 24-hour PM2.5 SIP posted as of October 1, 2014. ICAPCD plans to hold a Public Hearing on November 25, 2014. Please check the ICAPCD website for more information about this event. After the Public Hearing, ICAPCD will consider all final comments before submitting the draft SIP in December 2014.

ARB’s Amendments to Cap-and-Trade Regulations and Offset Protocols

Saturday, October 25, 2014

California Air Resources Board’s (ARB) Cap-and-Trade Regulation limits greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the emission sources that are responsible for approximately 85 percent of California’s total GHG emissions. It also reduces GHG emissions with time by applying a declining cap on GHG emissions, and implements a compliance program that is flexible through the use of tradable compliance instruments (allowances and offset credits). It became effective in the beginning of 2012 and has been amended few times since then.

At the September 18, 2014 public hearing, ARB approved the proposed amendments to various sections of the Cap-and-Trade regulations as well as updates to three of its compliance offset protocols. These amendments include, but are not limited to:

  • Removing the exemption of imported carbon dioxide from the Cap-and-Trade Regulation;
  • Changes in product data definitions;
  • Clarification on reporting offset credit prices during transfers;
  • Increase in flexibility and clarifications to the requirements for corporate disclosures, including indirect and direct corporate associations; and
  • Updates to quantification methodologies within the U.S. Forest Projects, Ozone Depleting Substances, and Livestock Projects Compliance Offset Protocols.

The modified regulatory language was made available for 15 days public comment on October 2, 2014 through October 17, 2014. A detailed list of the proposed modification and the details regarding the rule making processes can be found here. The amended version of the regulations and offset protocols prepared for this comment period can be found here.

November 2014 California Cap-and-Trade and Québec Cap-and-Trade Joint Auction Details Released

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On September 19, 2014, the 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 November 19, 2014 (the November 2014 Auction). In contrast to previous auctions, this auction will be a joint auction between the California Cap-and-Trade Program and the Québec Cap-and-Trade system. Any California covered entity, opt-in covered entity, and voluntarily associated entity and any Québec emitters and participants are eligible to participate in the November 2014 Auction provided that the entity has a Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS) account and completed other administrative pre-auction requirements.

The auction will feature 2014 (current) vintage allowances as well as 2017 (advance) vintage allowances. Bidding will take place during a 3-hour window. An Auction Exchange Rate (US Dollars to Canadian Dollars) will be established prior to the joint auction in order to manage the multiple currencies.

The table below shows the results of ARB’s previous GHG allowance auctions.

AuctionVintageAllowances Sold / Allowances OfferedSettlement Price (US Dollars)
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
August 2014201422,473,043 / 22,473,043 (100%)$11.50
20176,470,000 / 9,260,000 (69.9 %)$11.34

 

The November 2014 Auction will feature the following allowances:

VintageNumber of Allowances OfferedReserve Price (US Dollars)
2014 (Current)23,070,987$11.34
2017 (Advance)10,787,000$11.34

 

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

  • November 7, 2014 – Bid guarantees due to Financial Services Administrator
  • November 9, 2014 – ARB issues final approval and notification of auction participants
  • November 19, 2014 – GHG allowance auction held
  • November 26, 2014 – Public notice of auction results released
  • December 5, 2014 – Financial settlement due to Financial Services Administrator
  • December 19, 2014 – Transfer of allowances into CITSS accounts

This will be the last Cap-and-Trade auction in 2014 before the second Cap-and-Trade compliance period begins on January 1, 2015. After this date, transportation fuels sectors will enter the market and the program cap will increase accordingly. The auction notice document, which describes all pre-auction requirements and instructions in more detail, is available here.

CalARP Regulation Amendments Effective Starting January 1, 2015

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services proposed various amendments to the California Accidental Release Prevention (CalARP) regulation on August 8, 2013. After a public written comment period and a public hearing process, the proposed CalARP regulation amendments have recently been approved by the Office of Administrative Law on October 8, 2014 and will take effect on January 1, 2015.

The following are the three key categories of the CalARP program amendments that were originally proposed in 2013:

  • Update toxic endpoints for all of Table 3 in Appendix A: The endpoint data has been available for the 77 chemicals on Table 1 (Federal Table), but not for 276 chemicals on Table 3 (California Specific Table).
  • Add petition provision in the CalARP program: A section was reserved in the original CalARP regulations, but was never added previously.
  • Clean up errors and inconsistency and clarify where appropriate.

On October 8, 2014, all of the proposed amendments were approved and adopted by the Office of Administrative Law, except for the proposed petition provision addition, which will remain as a reserved section. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services believes that the adopted amendments will result in increased worker safety at industrial plants handling hazardous materials as its overall objective is to ensure the protection of public health, public safety, and the environment.

In general, subject facilities with California specific toxic substance(s) may need to perform offsite consequence analysis using the specified endpoint(s) in Table 3 and update relevant sections of the Risk Management Plan consistent with the amendments when the next five year update is submitted to Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA), effective on January 1, 2015. The newly adopted amendments of the CalARP regulation are available here.

BAAQMD Board of Directors Passes Resolution to Track and Limit Refinery Emissions

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On October 15, 2014, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) Board of Directors passed a resolution setting a timeline and plan for the proposed adoption of two new rules regulating the San Francisco Bay Area’s five refineries: Regulation 12, Rule 15 (Petroleum Refinery Emissions Tracking) to track emissions and crude oil quality from petroleum refineries, and Regulation 12, Rule 16 (not yet titled) for setting emissions thresholds and mitigating potential emissions increases. By December 2014, BAAQMD will present to the Board of Directors an evaluation of emission reduction approaches proposed by the community, industry, and Air District staff and recommend a strategy to reduce emissions by 20% or “as much emissions reductions as are feasible.” By Spring 2015, BAAQMD shall present to the Board of Directors Regulation 12, Rule 15 and Regulation 12, Rule 16 for proposed adoption. Regulation 12, Rule 15 will require refineries to submit an annual emissions inventory, report information on crude oils processed, complete a health risk assessment to evaluate the dispersion of hazardous substances, and establish fence-line and community air monitoring systems (based on the July 17, 2014 draft Regulation 12, Rule 15). Regulation 12, Rule 16 will serve as a companion rule that sets emissions thresholds which refineries cannot exceed and mitigates potential emissions increases from the refineries.

A copy of the Board of Directors resolution can be found here. The July 17, 2014 draft of Regulation 12, Rule 15 can be found here.

USEPA Alternative Test Method (ALT Method 082) – Opacity Camera

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On February 15, 2012 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) approved an alternative test method (ALT Method 082) which can be used in lieu of Method 9 for determining opacity compliance of stationary sources. ALT Method 082 uses a digital camera to capture still images of stacks or other emission sources, which will then be analyzed for percent opacity. This system removes a large amount of potential human errors and provides more accurate and consistent readings. ALT Method 082 does require initial certification of the camera, similar to Method 9. However, this certification lasts much longer (3.5 years) and can be renewed electronically. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has indicated that they will be using the Digital Opacity Compliance System Second Generation (DOCSII) for ALT Method 082 in place of Method 9 observations during inspections in the future. They have also stated that while the DOCSII system has the capability to perform night opacity readings, ADEQ does not intend to do night surveillance without a strong reason to believe opacity issues are occurring. For more information about the DOCSII system click here.

alt method 082

DOCS II Software as a Service (photo from www.virtuallc.com/saas.asp)