SCAQMD Releases Revised Draft 2016 Air Quality Management Plan Following Significant Input from Community, Stakeholders

October 7, 2016

Following extensive input from the community and dozens of stakeholders, Southland air quality officials today released a revised draft 2016 Air Quality Management Plan, which includes additional emphasis on regulatory measures, while underscoring the critical role of incentives to accelerate the pace of clean equipment deployment.

The new, revised draft includes significant changes based on input received over the last four months from 67 comment letters representing a broad spectrum of stakeholders and the public, as well as over 30 public and stakeholder meetings since the draft was released in June.

“The revised plan incorporates new, regulatory actions that emerged through a thoughtful and collaborative process,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s Acting Executive Officer. “The SCAQMD staff will continue to work closely with all stakeholders on an approach that will bring the South Coast Basin into attainment.”

The revised draft 2016 AQMP puts a priority on maximizing emission reductions utilizing zero-emission technologies wherever cost effective and feasible, and near-zero emission technologies in all other applications. Incentives are still critically important to achieve near-term attainment goals, and serve to accelerate the transition to zero- and near-zero technologies

Major changes to the plan include:

  • A substantial strengthening of previous incentive-only measures for diesel backup generators and residential and commercial appliances with new proposed  future regulations;
  • An added emphasis on a long-term transition from the market-based RECLAIM program to a more traditional command-and-control compliance program;
  • An expanded discussion of SCAQMD’s clean fleet vehicle rules, including the potential development of new or modified rules with a focus on zero- and near-zero emission vehicles where feasible; and
  • Additional clarity, certainty and a specific timeline regarding the implementation of the facility-based measures, including a public process, identifying voluntary and regulatory actions, and a fixed schedule for reporting back to SCAQMD’s Governing Board.

The revised plan continues to call for substantial additional emission reductions from the largest industrial facilities in RECLAIM, including refineries – a 35 percent further reduction, in addition to the 45 percent emission reduction previously approved by the SCAQMD’s Governing Board in 2015.

“While the revised draft plan certainly advances our efforts to achieve attainment goals, the SCAQMD cannot do it alone,” continued Nastri. “State and federal agencies have primary authority over mobile sources such as interstate trucks, trains, ships and aircraft, which contribute over 80 percent of the emissions in the South Coast basin. They have a significant role to play too.”

The revised plan calls for incentives totaling an estimated $11 billion to $14 billion, or about $1 billion per year over the next 15 years, in order to help achieve clean air goals. Potential sources of funding identified in the revised plan include but are not limited to: establishing a National Clean Air Investment and Cleanup Fund; prioritizing existing funding programs to maximize co-benefits of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emission reductions; enhancing existing funding sources, such as the federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program and the state’s Carl Moyer program and other revenue sources.

While significant, incentive funding represents approximately 0.1 percent of the region’s annual GDP. And should the region fail to meet federally mandated clean air goals, U.S. EPA could impose sanctions far more onerous and costly to the Basin’s residents and businesses than the proposed plan.

The revised draft 2016 AQMP is available at www.aqmd.gov. SCAQMD will conduct another series of public workshops starting in November to gather input on the revised plan.  Staff expects to bring the plan to the SCAQMD Governing Board by February 2017.  The plan must then be approved by CARB for inclusion in its State Implementation Plan, which in turn is submitted to the U.S. EPA for approval.

SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.