Be Prepared for New Air Compliance Rules in California

Air Emissions
October 29, 2019
By Andrea White

If you are operating in California, you need to be aware of the new Community Air Protection Program implemented under State Assembly Bill 617 (AB 617).

The objective of AB 617 is to reduce exposure to air pollutants in communities most impacted by air pollution. The California Air Resources Board will reduce air pollutant exposure by increasing facility air emissions reporting, adding stationary source air emissions controls, implementing community involvement and community air pollutant monitoring programs, and creating targeted statewide and local air emission reduction programs.

Additional communities are being targeted on an annual basis and some Air Quality Control Districts in California have new regulations that will become operational as early as the end of this year.

AB 617 will affect stationary sources, including manufacturing facilities, power plants, wastewater treatment plants, and refineries. AB 617 may also affect mobile sources, either directly through requirements for transportation agencies and railroads, or indirectly through changes to environmental planning criteria.

There are multiple components to the new regulation with increasing facility obligations starting now and phased in through the next several years. The following source categories will be required to submit annual criteria pollutant and air toxic emissions inventories by May 1st of each year, beginning in 2020 for 2019 data:

  1. Facilities that are required to report greenhouse gas emissions to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) (inclusive of those not subject to the AB 32 Cap-and-Trade Program).
  2. Facilities in nonattainment areas that are also authorized to emit more than 250 tons per year (tpy) of a nonattainment pollutant or its precursor via a Permit to Operate (PTO).
  3. Facilities that are categorized by an air district as high priority for air toxic emissions.

CARB has identified approximately 1,275 facilities that meet the above criteria. The sources most affected will be those that have historically reported emissions from only one of these categories, and that do not currently have annual emissions tracking tools.

For facilities not currently impacted, they should be aware of this regulation because it is anticipated that it will be modified over time to include smaller facilities using sector-specific activity thresholds.

Medium-to-large facilities and specific sources operating in California need to act now by either reporting or planning for compliance.

Organizations using the Enablon Air Compliance Management software application already have the capability to determine if their facilities are among the categories of sources required to submit annual criteria pollutant and air toxic emissions inventories by May 1st of each year.

Additional details about the regulation can be found in the following summary sheet.

Author

Andrea White

Andrea White