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16

News & Views Magazine

Edition 1, 2015

Air Issues:

CARB Changes in Preparation for Post-2020

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) revealed that

a number of internal changes have been made that it

believes will increase the efficiency of the agency in its

role of oversight and implementation of current and

future regulations.

The new division chief of the Stationary Source Division is

FloydVergara. Hewas formerly thechief of theAlternative

Fuels Branch at CARB and was the principal author of the

board’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard’s regulatory language.

Vergara is an attorney and is licensed in California as

a professional engineer. He has been at the board for

nearly 27 years.

Under Vergara, the Stationary Source Division’s

authority has been expanded to include not only

emissions associated with fuel, oil & gas, and cap-and-

trade operation, but now includes oversight on toxic

materials, freight, drayage, and Transport Refrigeration

Units (TRUs).

CARB Creates Economic Advisor Position

In anticipation of post-2020 impacts, CARB created a

position for an economic advisor whose first job will be to

establish a team of external economic advisors to advise

the board and executive staff on policy and regulatory

implementation. CARB said the new appointee would

have input on new modeling and implementation

strategies associated with CARB efforts to address

the state’s climate goals. The economic advisory is

also expected to advise board members on major

policy items.

Air Toxic Hot Spots

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

(OEHHA) recently proposed updated “Air Toxic Hot Spots”

(AB 2588) health risk assessment guidelines, and plans

on finalizing them within the next month or two. Despite

significant reductions in stationary source emissions

over the last two decades, OEHHA’s new guidelines have

changed the way air quality health risk is estimated and

will result in much higher estimates of risk. Facility risk

estimates will increase by 1.5 to 3 times or more – even if

there has been no change in a facility’s emissions.

OEHHA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB)

are now engaged in updating the risk management and

risk communication. There is a concern is that these

new guidelines will require many facilities to meet

regulatory requirements that include formal notification

to surrounding communities that their operations now

pose a significant health risk to residents – despite having

reduced or registered no change in emissions. Others

can expect to face barriers to obtaining new permits or

renewing existing air emission permits.

CLFP has joined a coalition of businesses and industries

working with CARB and California Air Pollution Control

Officers Association (CAPCOA) to develop reasonable risk

communication and risk management guidelines used by

local air quality districts.

Ground Level Ozone

Late last year, the US Environmental Protection Agency

(EPA) proposed to strengthen the National Ambient Air

Quality Standards for ground-level ozone. The proposed

update will expand the ozone monitoring season for

many states.

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set two types of

outdoor air quality standards for ozone: a primary

standard to protect public health and a secondary

standard to protect public welfare. The EPA is

proposing to update both standards. Both would be

8-hour standards.

This is the EPA’s second attempt in four years to revise the

ozone standard. In 2010, the EPA proposed to reconsider

the current 2008 ozone standard. The standards were

last updated in 2008 and even though the current 2008

standard of 75 parts per billion (“ppb”) has not yet been

fully implemented, the EPA proposes to lower it down

to a range between 70 ppb to 65 ppb. The EPA is even

taking comments on lowering the standard all the way

down to 60 ppb.

The current ozone standard of 75 ppb is the most

stringent ever and has not been fully implemented in

Southern California nor throughout the Central Valley.

CLFP has taken the position that the EPA and the states

should focus on fully implementing and attaining the

existing standard before contemplating a lower standard.

A decision can be made at a later date to determine if

additional actions are warranted. CLFP will be submitting

comments on this issue to the EPA.

Cap-and-Trade Lawsuit (AB32)

The Pacific Legal Foundation’s (PLF) lawsuit against the

AB32 Cap-and-Trade regulation continues. The PLF

lawsuit challenged Assembly Bill 32 (AB32) Cap-and-

Trade Regulation on two grounds. First, the auction

process as an unconstitutional state tax because it was

not enacted by two-thirds majorities in both chambers

of the legislature. Second, the California Air Resources

Board’s (CARB) cap-and-trade auction is beyond the

scope of authority (Ultra Vires) granted by AB 32 in that

it does not authorize CARB to generate revenue.

The Sacramento Superior court ruled in favor of the state

leading to an appeal by plaintiffs PLF/The Morningstar

Packing Company and the California Chamber of

Commerce. Appeal briefs were filed by plaintiffs in

late October last year. The state’s reply brief (CARB, CA

Attorney General) was due February 2, 2015. However,

the state missed the deadline and was given an additional