Overwhelmingly, comments from industry were in support of the 2016 AQMP, asking for Board adoption without modification, specifically without the addition of an indirect source rule. On the opposite side of the spectrum, overwhelmingly environmental activists, environmental justice organizations and individuals were in opposition of the AQMP, saying it does not do enough to regulate industry. Many cited personal experience of cancer and asthma within families as health outcomes related to air pollution exposure, specifically referencing that SCAQMD has not done enough to reduce exposure.
The reasons for delay included the fact that one board member was not at the meeting and therefore not able to vote and, new Board Member, Sheila Kuehl (who replaced former LA County Supervisor Antonovich) made the case to delay the approval of the AQMP for the following reasons that SCAQMD staff should address:
Specific to item 1, an indirect source is defined in SCAQMD’s 2016 AQMP as “any facility, building, structure, or installation, or combination thereof, which generates or attracts mobile source activity that results in emissions of any pollutant (or precursor). Examples of indirect sources include employment sites, shopping centers, sports facilities, housing developments, airports, commercial and industrial development, and parking lots and garages,” essentially anything that increases air pollution from motor vehicles by attracting motor vehicles. Air district authority over indirect sources has sparked a decades long debate over regulatory authority as these measures “potentially impact local concerns, including land use concerns beyond air pollution.” [Loyola Of Los Angeles Law Review, Vol. 24:1131]
Dr. John Husing, the Inland Empire Economic Partnership’s chief economist, indicates that, should the SCAQMD Board force adoption of an indirect source rule, the coalition of business support for the 2016 AQMP is likely to fragment.
RECLAIM was another major focus of Board discussion. SCAQMD staff affirmed that they are giving serious consideration to sunsetting the program. Staff is actively developing options and timing for a transition to command and control. SCAQMD would implement a NOx cap that will decline over time according to a schedule, as if under command and control. Staff are “figuring out” what the options are and are committing to a 5tpd NOx reduction by 2031, however staff indicated that this does not preclude SCAQMD from achieving the 5 TPD reduction sooner.
SCAQMD indicates that cessation of RECLAIM will impact a few large sources of air pollution financially, but the majority of the RECLAIM market will not be financially affected. Industry generally supports preservation of RECLAIM and market based approaches to air pollution control, citing the flexibility to cost-effectively comply with regulations across a wide variety of stationary sources of air pollution.
SCAQMD will convene a RECLAIM working group in Spring 2017. Ahead of that process it is premature to estimate the true date for the 5 TPD reduction. It is expected that there will be a 4-6 month delay before Staff can provide the Board more definitive feedback.