California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has approved Rule 1315, which replaces a rule invalidated in 2008 when a state court determined that SCAQMD failed to adequately weigh the rule’s environmental impacts. NRDC v. SCAQMD, No. 110793 (Cal. Super. Ct. 7/29/08). The new rule establishes a system to track new source review (NSR) emissions reduction credits. It retroactively eliminates all pre-1990 credits in its offset accounts that SCAQMD cannot authenticate.
According to the agency, the new rule is designed to demonstrate that the NSR program meets federal and state Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements and strikes a balance between the need for economic growth and the effort to clean the air. The earlier lawsuit was primarily a challenge to SCAQMD’s accounting system, particularly the number of offsets available. Under the CAA, major sources of air pollution in nonattainment areas must offset any new emissions and install best available control technology when building new facilities or modifying equipment. SCAQMD’s NSR program applies to both major and minor sources in the Los Angeles area.