- Senator Lowenthal Proposes Legislation to Protect Stationary Sources in Southern California from Unjustified Clean Air Act Fee
- August 30, 2010 | Author: Sharon F. Rubalcava
- Law Firm: Alston & Bird LLP - Los Angeles Office
A little known provision of the federal Clean Air Act requires states or local air districts that do not attain the one-hour ozone standard by the target attainment date to impose a non-attainment fee on major stationary sources, presumably as an incentive to force those sources to further reduce emissions. The fee would be approximately $9000 per ton of emissions and would be collected on a yearly basis beginning in 2012 until the area attains the federal standard.
In the South Coast Air Quality Management District (Los Angeles, Orange and parts of San Bernardino and Riverside counties) a "major" source is one that has the potential to emit 10 tons per year of either NOx or reactive organic gases (ROG). However, "major" sources account for only about 10% of the emissions generated in the district with the vast majority coming from mobile sources.
The air district has balked at imposing the fee on local businesses since such businesses are generally considered to be controlled to the maximum extent feasible by current regulations. The air district, at the direction of its Governing Board, has been attempting to find a legislative solution and is currently supporting state legislation that would give the air district the authority to impose a slight increase (up to $3.00 per vehicle per year) in annual motor vehicle registration fees. The bill, SB 632 sponsored by State Senator Alan Lowenthal, is currently going through the legislative process in Sacramento and has support from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, numerous local governmental and business organizations, and individual businesses that would be subject to the fee. The motor vehicle fee would be used to demonstrate "equivalency" with the fee required by the Clean Air Act. EPA has issued guidance saying that an equivalent fee may meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act but will have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
If you wish to add your support to the Lowenthal bill, please contact Sharon Rubalcava at 213.576.1105.