California Air and Climate: Air Districts Begin Implementing AB 617 Retrofit Control Technology; SCAQMD to Regulate Indirect Sources

June 2018

Vol. 2


California Air Districts Begin Task of Implementing the AB 617 Best Available Retrofit Control Technology Requirements

AB 617, a bill adopted by the California Legislature in 2017 to address criteria air pollutants and toxic air contaminants, includes a provision requiring air districts, which are non-attainment for at least one air pollutant, to expedite adoption of Best Available Retrofit Control Technology (“BARCT”) at facilities subject to California’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. By January 1, 2019 the air districts must adopt a schedule demonstrating how the BARCT requirement will be implemented by December 21, 2023. Although AB 617 requires BARCT for facilities in the cap-and-trade program, the BARCT requirements adopted by the air districts may also impact smaller facilities not subject to the program. Several air districts have started the process of meeting this mandate including:

Bay Area Air Quality Management District (“BAAQMD”) has identified 11 potential rule development projects for inclusion in its expedited BARCT schedule. The sources and pollutants identified are:

  • Cement manufacturing – particulate matter (“PM”) and sulfur dioxide (“SO2”);
  • Hydrocarbon storage tanks – reactive organic gases (“ROG”);
  • Refinery wastewater treatment – ROG;
  • Refinery fluid catalytic crackers and CO boilers – PM and SO2;
  • Refinery equipment leaks/heavy liquids – ROG;
  • Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines –  ROG;
  • Fiberglass manufacturing – PM, NOx;
  • Landfills – ROG;
  • Carbon Calcining – NOx.

BAAQMD identified 15 other potential rule projects covering sources such as landfill flares, wastewater treatment, natural gas furnaces, marine terminal loading, and wall board manufacturing that did not make the expedited list, but that it expects to address as part of upcoming local community emission reduction plans.

San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (“SJVAPCD”) held a public workshop on June 14 to discuss its plans to develop an expedited implementation plan.  SJVAPCD has identified 35 of its rules applicable to 109 cap-and-trade sources that will require evaluation. However, the district expects few rule amendments will be necessary, noting that most of its existing rules satisfy BARCT requirements.

South Coast Air Quality Management District (“SCAQMD”) directed staff in 2016 to implement rules with BARCT requirements as part of its transition from the RECLAIM trading program to a traditional command-and-control regulatory structure. Several BARCT rules are under development including rules regulating the first group of sources to transition from RECLAIM: large water heaters, boilers, steam generators, and process heaters.

South Coast Air Quality Management District to Regulate Indirect Sources

On May 4, 2018, the SCAQMD Governing Board directed staff to develop indirect source measures to reduce emissions from vehicles and other mobile sources in the air basin. SCAQMD estimates that ozone forming emissions must be reduced an additional 45% below levels expected under current regulations to meet the federal government’s ozone standard. Mobile sources, which are regulated by U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board, make up more than 80% of the ozone forming Nitrogen Oxides (“NOx”) emissions in the region. Lacking authority to directly regulate mobile sources, SCAQMD plans to reduce these emissions through rules and other measures directed at facilities associated with mobile sources. Staff has been directed to develop indirect source rules to reduce truck and locomotive emissions associated with warehouses and railyards and report back to the Board with proposed measures to address heavy construction equipment emissions associated with development and redevelopment projects. SCAQMD will be the second air district in the state to pursue an indirect source rule, following San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Rule 9510, implemented in 2006. SCAQMD staff will also work with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the area’s five major airports on implementation of voluntary agreements to develop and implement Clean Air Action Plans to reduce mobile source emissions.