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The California Air Resources Board (ARB) presses on with the implementation of AB 32—the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The law directed the agency to develop measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that can lead to global warming. A recent federal judge decision in California concluded that the California Attorney General could not sue the six largest automakers and hold them responsible for global warming. The lawsuit sought millions of dollars for damages allegedly generated by the automakers, but the judge concluded that lawmakers, not courts, should address the issue of greenhouse gas reductions.

The ARB has developed tiers to prioritize emission reductions. The “early action measures” are at the top of the list. The agency has recently announced that the list of early action measures will be expanded from the original 37 measures to a total of 44 measures. The early action measures have been further broken down into areas of regulatory need referred to as “discrete early action measures.” These are measures that could be fully adopted as regulations and take effect by January 1, 2010.

The list of discrete early action measures, which originally contained three strategies (Low Carbon Fuel Standard, reduction of refrigerant losses from motor vehicle air conditioning maintenance and increased methane capture from landfills) has now tripled to nine. Some of the recommendations include:

  • Smartway Truck Efficiency: Requiring existing trucks/trailers to be retrofitted with best available “Smartway Transport” and/or approved ARB technology. This may include using devices such as cab roof fairings, cab side gap fairings, cab side or trailer side skirts in order to reduce aerodynamic drag. Rolling resistance may be reduced using single wide tires or low-rolling resistance tires and automatic tire inflation systems on both the tractor and the trailer.
  • Tire Inflation Program: Would ensure that vehicle tire pressure is maintained to manufacturer specifications. Tire pressure in older vehicles would be monitored by requiring tires to be checked and inflated at regular service intervals. The ARB is considering requiring vehicle service facilities, such as dealerships, maintenance garages, and smog check stations, to check and properly inflate tires. Staff also recommends that signage at fueling stations indicate the availability of compressed air at no charge and an outreach program.
  • Reduction of Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) from the Semiconductor Industry: The strategy calls for instituting an emissions reduction goal and measures to achieve the goal. Process optimization, alternative chemistry development, emissions abatement and recovering/recycling are some of the strategies under discussion.
  • Green Ports: Providing alternate sources of power for ships while they are docked. Ships can use cables to receive electricity from the shore, allowing them to shut off their auxiliary engines, thereby reducing emissions. The ARB staff will present a draft regulation focusing on nitrogen oxides and diesel particulate emissions reductions and quantification of the associated carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Energy Efficiency of California Cement Facilities: Reducing carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion, calcination and electricity use by converting to a low-carbon fuel-based production, decreasing fuel consumption, and improving energy efficiency practices and technologies in cement production.
  • Blended Cements: The addition of blending materials such as limestone, fly ash, natural pozzolan and/or slag to replace some of the clinker in the production of Portland cement. This would reduce CO2 emissions.

Table 1 summarizes the timelines for implementation of the multiyear program mandated under AB 32.

Table 1. ARB timelines

ARB action Deadline
List early actions 2007
Mandatory reporting 2008
Scoping plan 2009
Early actions take effect 2010
Greenhouse gas limits and measures adoption 2011
Greenhouse gas limits and measures operative 2012
Reduction of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels 2020

The 44 measures are estimated to reduce 42 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, representing approximately a quarter of the emission reduction requirements under AB 32 by the year 2020. The agency’s Climate Action Team has identified an additional 68 million metric tons worth of reductions, external to the ARB. The additional reductions will be presented in a plan due late next year.



The South Coast Air Quality Management District held a public forum to explore a reactivity-based approach to VOC regulations. Current regulations do not distinguish between VOCs and instead have a mass-based approach. The Environmental Protection Agency issued a guidance document in 2005, encouraging the states to consider recent scientific information on reactivity in development of state implementation plans. The concept behind the methodology is that targeting higher reactive compounds can, in some cases, be more effective and efficient than traditional mass-based approaches. The methodology can play a more prominent role in areas with persistent ozone problems, urbanized areas where NOx emissions are high, and areas that despite having already made significant VOC reductions, still need ozone reductions.

The SCAQMD pointed to the statewide rule for aerosol coatings, promulgated by the ARB, as a model of encouraging VOC substitution via reactivity-weighted emission limits. The Houston-Galveston area has also used the reactivity based concept to target highly reactive VOCs with specific control measures.

Regulators believe that, due to limited existing data, the reactivity scale approach may be more difficult to develop and implement than mass-based approaches. The EPA methodology uses ethane as the yardstick. The reactivity of candidate compounds is compared to that of ethane.

EPA is considering either a national guidance or a rule modeled after ARB’s rule for aerosol coatings. Industry groups have expressed support for the concept, as they believe it would provide added regulatory flexibility.



The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) presented amendments to Rule 1110.2—Emissions from Gaseous and Liquid-Fueled Engines. SCAQMD enforcement personnel has been using portable analyzers to measure emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen during unannounced emission tests on combustion equipment. According to the agency, the tests demonstrate that more than half of all rich-burn engines tested were not in compliance with both their NOx and CO emission limits. The staff notes that “these poor compliance statistics make it clear that the periodic monitoring required by the existing rule is inadequate to assure compliance.”

The changes include emissions standards for new non-emergency electrical generation engines, for NOx, VOC and CO of 0.07, 0.02 and 0.10 lbs/MW-hr, respectively. The exemption for ski area engines and engines outside South Coast and Salton Sea Air Basins would be removed. The proposal would require engines that lack a continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) to install an air-to-fuel ratio controller with an oxygen sensor and feedback control (or other equivalent systems). Also, stationary engines at facilities that have multiple engines at the same location with a cumulative horsepower rating of 1500 brake horsepower or greater, will be subject to CEMS requirements.

The agency would conduct a technology review in 2010 to determine if engines operating on biogas can meet the emissions limits which take effect on July 1, 2012. The staff proposes to include a resolution to prohibit the submission of the 2012 biogas limit as part of the state implementation plan.

The emissions limits (parts per million by volume, corrected to 15% oxygen) for stationary engines are recommended to be as follows:

NOx-----------------11 ppmvd
VOC-----------------30 ppmvd
CO-------------------250 ppmvd

“Low-use” engines, defined as those that operate less than 500 hours per year, or use less than 1 billion Btu per year, are exempt from the requirements. Certain specified two-stroke engines may also avail themselves to an exemption, subject to a case-by-case review by the Executive Officer. Compliance issues during engine start up would be addressed by instituting an exemption.

Staff suggests that source testing be conducted every two years (instead of the current 3 year cycle) or every 8,760 operating hours, whichever occurs first. The proposal would allow submittal of a previously approved source test protocol, if no significant changes have occurred. The public hearing wherein the Rule is to be formally adopted by the SCAQMD board has been tentatively scheduled for December 2007.




Diesel engines seem to be at the center of the recently adopted amendments to California’s AB2588 Air Toxics “Hot Spots” Emission Inventory Criteria and Guidelines Regulation. The amendments, intended to align the Guidelines with the Air Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) for stationary diesel engines, provide guidance to local air districts and regulated facilities on how to incorporate stationary diesel engines in the AB2588 program. Portable engines that may pose a significant health risk are also dealt with. Diesel engines at agricultural operations may be subject to requirements effective 2012.

Facilities that emit over ten tons per year of organic gases, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides or sulfur oxides in California, are subject to the “Hot Spots” program. Additionally, specified facilities listed in Appendix E of the Emissions Inventory Criteria and Guidelines Regulations, such as gas stations, dry cleaners, and chrome platers, are also subject to the program (this is not an all-inclusive list, a complete list can be found on Appendix E at http://www.arb.ca.gov/ab2588/2588guid.htm )

Although the ARB and the Office of Health Hazard Assessment provide guidance regarding which facilities are subject to the program, which pollutants are reported and the methodology for reporting emissions concerning the AB2588 program, the ultimate enforcement of the law is left up to the local air districts. Currently, local air districts are in the process of evaluating emissions and risk from diesel engines and preparing a formal “Hot Spots” implementation period. The air districts are expected to complete the process sometime this year.

Engines rated at 50 horsepower or less may be subject to the program if they are used on a “routine and predictable” basis, and if the district determines that they may pose a significant risk. Moreover, portable equipment used on a “routine and predictable” basis may be impacted by the program, if the district has “good cause to expect that the emissions from the portable engines at the facility have the potential to pose a significant risk.” The portable engine requirements have been postponed until 2010, but the ARB board will be seeking public comment in the next few weeks. The requirements for agricultural engines will become effective on January 1, 2012.

Facilities that operate diesel engines are subject to the program if:

  1. The facility operates any number of diesel engines for more than 20 hours per year combined total at the facility for non-emergency operations and;
  2. The use of any number of diesel engines is a routine and predictable operation of the facility; and
  3. The diesel engine is not a vehicle or motor vehicle (defined in Vehicle Code sections 670 or 415 and referenced in Health and Safety Code section 39039)

The program has an exemption for “Diesel Engine-Only” facilities that reduce their operating hours to 20 hours per year or less for all non-emergency engine operations. The districts have the discretion of removing the exemption if they determine that there is good cause to expect the engines at the facility pose a significant risk. Facilities designated as “diesel engine-only” are required to submit an emissions inventory update to the local air district whenever an increase in emissions occurs.

Table 2 shows the definitions of high, intermediate and low level facilities and Table 3 delineates the requirements for the facilities.

Table 2. Types of AB2588 program facilities

Facility Type Prioritization Score* Cancer Risk Non-Cancer Hazard Index
High-Level >10 >10 >1.0
Intermediate Level** >1 and < 10 >1 and <10 >0.1 and <1.0
Low-Level <1 <1 <0.1

* If a risk assessment was not required
** Includes facilities emitting specified quantities of Hazardous Air Pollutants

Table 3. Reporting requirements

Facility Status Required Reports
High-Level 2588 Forms or Hot Spots Analysis and Reporting Program (HARP)
Data Submittal or Risk Reduction Audit and Plan
Intermediate-Level HARP or 2-page Update Summary Form, or through Criteria Pollutant Reporting or other District Reporting Program
Low-Level No Report Required

The California Secretary of State formally approved amendments to the AB2588 Air Toxics “Hot Spots” Emission Inventory Criteria and Guidelines Regulation on August 27, 2007. The regulation takes effect 30 days from the approval date.



SCAQMD rule 1146—Emissions of Oxides of Nitrogen from Industrial, Institutional, and Commercial Boilers, Steam Generators, and Process Heaters, was originally adopted in 1988. It applies to existing units with rated heat input capacity greater than or equal to 5 million Btu per hour. The district is considering further emission reductions under Rule 1146, as specified by the California legislature in Senate Bill 656.

Amendments to the RECLAIM program identified Best Available Retrofit Control Technology (BARCT) for Rule 1146 equipment and revealed that NOx limits in the rule do not reflect the most stringent BARCT. Moreover, further emissions reductions are called for by Control Measure MCS-01 of the South Coast Air Quality Management Plan. The control measure requires “facility modernization.” Under the facility modernization concept, as combustion equipment ages and reaches the end of its useful life, an upgrade or replacement would achieve emission reductions.

The district held a “task force” meeting as a preliminary step to determine the age at which burner systems would need to be upgraded, in order to meet more stringent emission limits. At this point, the agency has not begun its formal rulemaking protocol.



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