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California Assembly weighing integrating air pollution performance into GHG cap-and-trade

The California Assembly is considering a bill (AB-378) that would integrate air quality performance into the state’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) cap-and- trade program. Assembly Bill 378 was proposed by by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who heads the Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources. CNR passed the proposal on Monday.

This bill creates a framework for grading industrial facilities’ air quality performance and creating a uniform air pollution standard that facilities must meet to receive allocation of free allowances from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) beginning in 2021.

In addition, AB-378 extends the Air Resources Board’s (ARB) cap-and-trade authority to 2030; prohibits a facility from increasing its annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to the 2014-2016 average; and authorizes ARB to adopt “no-trade zones” or facility-specific declining GHG limits, as specified.

The bill requires ARB to evaluate the air pollutant emissions of each industrial facility, based on the following factors:

  • Permitted and actual emissions of criteria air pollutants and toxic air contaminants;

  • Date of the most recent new source review conducted pursuant to the federal Clean Air Act for each emission unit;

  • Emissions control measures for each criteria air pollutant and toxic air contaminant, including, but not limited to, emissions control technology for each emission unit;

  • Whether each emission unit meets “best available control technology” or “best available retrofit control technology,” as applicable;

  • The performance of similar industrial facilities; and,

  • District records of complaints, enforcement actions, and penalties.

The bill also prohibits ARB, after 2020, from allocating allowances pursuant to cap-and-trade industrial facility that does not meet the air pollutant emissions standards.


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