4TH QUARTER 2002
|No-fault inspections have existed at the South Coast
Air Quality Management District for about 10 years. Under this program,
a facility is inspected but no enforcement action is taken during
the inspection, even if violations are found. In addition to immunity
from penalties, the information gathered during the inspection is
kept confidential. The inspected facility is given a 14-day grace
period to come into compliance with AQMD rules or file a variance
petition with the agency's hearing board.
Recently, industry representatives have made comparisons between
the District's program and the EPA's. The main difference between
the two is that the EPA allows a six-month grace period. Industry
representatives have argued that the AQMD's rule should be no less
restrictive than that of EPA. They feel that 14 days to correct
a violation is not long enough for a small business to come into
Staff is currently in discussions with EPA and industry groups
about whether further flexibility is necessary.
|Modeled after an EPA formal negotiated rulemaking process,
the AQMD will conduct a pilot program for the metal finishing rules.
The proposed control measures stem from the 2000 Air Toxics Control
Plan, which included control of emissions from metal finishing operations,
nickel plating operations (proposed Rule 1426) and chromium emissions
from plating and anodizing operations (proposed amended rule 1469).
The agency is experimenting with the process, which involves various
stakeholder groups, agency staff and a facilitator. The goal is
to reach consensus on some or all of the proposed regulation before
the rule is formally issued as a proposal. The impartial facilitator
guides discussions amongst the participants. The presumption is
that a consensus-based rule will require fewer resources to enforce,
promote high rates of compliance and result in fewer litigations.
If the process proves successful, the Board may expand the program
in the future.
CLEAR SKIES INITIATIVE
|The White House recently announced the Clear Skies Initiative--
an emission reductions program that will target Nitrogen Oxides, Sulfur
Oxides and mercury. The proposal will be a mandatory multi-pollutant,
market-based cap and trade program for power generators. It will reduce
and place caps on SO2, NOx and mercury.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that power
generation currently contributes 63% of SO2, 22% of NO2 and 37%
of man-made mercury to the environment.
The option to trade should provide sources with flexibility in
determining how to meet their reduction requirements. The reductions
can be achieved via the installation of control equipment, switching
to lower emitting fuels, increasing efficiency or acquiring allowances
among other options. The EPA hopes to guarantee the achievability
of environmental goals through emission caps and significant automatic
penalties. The agency cites early reductions and the development
of innovative technologies as some of the benefits of the cap and
trade program approach.
The primary form of mercury reduced under the initiative will be
ionic mercury, which currently comprises almost half the mercury
from power plants.
The Clear Skies program entails the following:
Compared with the current regulations, the President's proposal will
reduce SO2 emissions by an additional 25 million tons, NOx emissions
by an additional 10 million tons and mercury by an additional 20 tons
nationwide, over the next ten years.
- Regulators set cap levels;
- Allowances are issued by the government and can not be created
- One allowance is surrendered for each ton of pollutant emitted;
- If a source's emissions exceed the number of allowances it holds,
there will be automatic financial penalties, future allowances
will be offset by each ton exceeded, and all additional penalties
under the Clean Air Act are available to be used as well.
- Penalties are not flexible or negotiable.
Coal-fired power plants currently produce 19% of the electricity
generated in EPA Region IX (Arizona, California and Nevada areas).
This contribution of coal-fired generation will decrease in the
region to about 16% by 2010 and 14% by 2020. Clear Skies is projected
to reduce SO2 emissions from power generators by 8.5%, NOx emissions
by 22% and mercury emissions by 23% by the year 2020.
The ten largest (over 1495 MW) plants in Region IX are a combination
of nuclear, hydro, coal, petroleum and gas-fired units. The major
electric utilities include: Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern
California Edison Co., Los Angeles Department of Water and Power,
Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service Co.
In 1999, the EPA reports the average retail electricity price in
EPA Region IX (AZ, CA, NV) at 8.63 cents/kWh. The average national
retail price was 6.66 cents/kWh. By the year 2020, the retail electricity
prices under Clear Skies are projected to decrease to approximately
8 cents/kWh for Region IX and 6 cents/kWh for the nation.
The EPA anticipates that the reductions under Clear Skies would
be sufficient to replace New Source Review requirements for the
electric power sector. The agency may determine that some of the
NSR requirements are unnecessary and propose that they be replaced
in the event Clear Skies becomes legislation.
|STUDIES FOR LOW
High-performance low-VOC waterborne coatings:
Southwest Texas State University will develop a prototype high-performance
wood and metal coatings using Polyol-a hyper-branched vegetable
oil polyol phosphate ester. The new coating is expected to have
a VOC content of 50 grams per liter or less for some formulations.
The SCAQMD has granted $20,000 to research and development of the
coating. The agency reports that the use of Polyol would "reduce
the cost of the coating, improve its durability, and improve its
Low-VOC cleaning materials:
The SCAQMD executed a $355,000 contract with the University of Tennessee,
the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation and the Institute for Research
and Technical Assistance to assess, develop and demonstrate low-VOC
cleaning solvents. The study is a result of a provision in the Solvent
Cleaning rule (Rule 1171) that requires a complete Technical Assessment
of low VOC technologies for cleaning of lithographic printing ink
application equipment by July 2004. The objective of the project
is to investigate whether or not Rule 1171 limits are feasible.
In the event the study shows the current limits to be infeasible,
staff would propose less stringent limits based on the study's finding.
The study will include the comparison for cleaning performance,
cost effectiveness, environmental impacts, and other trade-offs
for the high-VOC processes currently used and the newly developed
The University of Tennessee, IRTA and GATF will form a team to
accomplish the project goals. GATF will develop the low-VOC materials
at their testing laboratory using state of the art lithographic
printing equipment. IRTA will work with local lithographic printers
to develop and field test new aqueous and low-VOC materials and
judge their effectiveness. The University of Tennessee will test
the solvents developed by GATF and IRTA for compatibility with blankets
and rollers and independently verify the performance test results.
|CLEAN AIR ACT
(CAA) POLICIES UNDER DISCUSSION
1. Clean Air Act Federal Toxics Program (Title III):
- Equivalency-Allow equivalency based on a toxic emission reduction
basis, revisit monitoring reporting and recordkeeping requirements,
and streamline rule equivalency determination process.
- MACT Hammer-When EPA fails to establish a MACT standard,
facilities are to submit a permit application for an individual
MACT determination. The AQMD would like an allowance for local
toxic rules to be deemed equivalent to MACT requirements.
- Residual Risk-MACT standards are technology-based and do
not take into account remaining risk after full implementation
or provide risk based exemptions or threshold level. An integrated
approach, which considers both technology and residual risk,
2. Clean Air Act Federal Operating Permits Program (Title V):
No action is proposed at this time other than monitoring and
providing support for SIP approval of the AQMD's variance rule.
3. State Implementation Plan (SIP):
- New Policy Applicability-Petition EPA to judge SIP revisions
of rules based on policies in effect at the time they are submitted.
- SIP Flexibility-Deletion of infeasible requirements where
there is no interference with CAA requirements.
- Federal Control Measure Commitment-Stakeholders will encourage
congressional delegation to urge EPA's implementation of federal
measures as part of its budget application process.
- SIP Gap-Evaluation and streamlining of SIP approval process
is recommended. AQMD will lend staff to EPA so as to expedite
4. Transportation Conformity-Allow the use of planning assumptions
in SIPs approved within the last five years.
5. Federal Funding-Pursue more funding from federal grant programs.
6. New Source Review:
- Emission Offsets-Expand options for facilities subject to
New Source Review offset requirements.
- Cost Exception for Lowest Achievable Emission Rate-Allow
cost considerations in LAER determinations.
- Discount of Emission Reduction Credits at time of use-Allow
ERC discounting to BACT levels at the time of generation and
not at the time of use.
- New Source Review Requirements for Relocations-Some relocations
should be exempt from LAER requirements.
- Demonstrated in Practice-Allow the use of capacity levels
which reflect the actual practice of the specific industry being
- Reactivation-Adopt a formal federal rule to clarify reactivation
- Incentives for Energy-Efficient Technologies-Request EPA to
develop policies to encourage energy efficiency.
7. Economic Incentives Program:
- Environmental Benefit-Provide specific examples of environmental
- Multi-Pollutant Reductions-Allow separate tracking of emission
credits for multi-pollutant reductions.
- Monitoring, Recordkeeping, and Reporting-Eliminate requiring
"best possible" MRR so long as compliance can be verified.
- Clean Air Investment Funds-Provide local jurisdictions added
flexibility in program development.
- Confidential Information-Allow for trade secrets and other
sensitive facility information to remain confidential
AQMD staff plans to work with EPA and four stakeholder groups to
further discuss CAA policy interpretations. These four groups are:
- Title III group
- State Implementation Plan group
- New Source Review group
- Economic Incentives Program group
COATINGS ISSUE BEFORE SUPREME COURT
|On May 14, 1999, AQMD adopted Rule 1113 (Architectural
Coatings) which, tightened VOC requirements for paints, varnishes
and other coatings. The reductions from the amendments were estimated
at 22 tons of VOC's per day.
The National Paint and Coatings Association opposed the rule and
subsequently filed a lawsuit in the Fourth Appellate District Court
of Appeal in Santa Ana. The Appellate Court ruled that AQMD had
not properly adopted the 1999 amendments to Rule 1113.
AQMD intends to submit an appeal -- formally known as a petition
for review -- to the State Supreme Court. In addition, the agency
already has started preliminary work to re-adopt the rule. Staff
believes there is sufficient evidence showing that compliant coatings
are available in all categories of the rule. They plan to present
a report to the board changing the rule's effective date from July
1, 2002 to July 1, 2003
If the state Supreme Court grants AQMD's petition for review, the
1999 amendments to Rule 1113 will remain in effect. If the court
denies AQMD's petition for review, the appellate court will instruct
the trial court to order AQMD to vacate the 1999 rule amendments.
The 1996 version of the rule with the 2001 amendments would remain