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REGIONAL CLEAN AIR INCENTIVES MARKET PROGRAM APPROVED

 REGIONAL CLEAN AIR INCENTIVES MARKET PROGRAM APPROVED
 DIAMOND BAR, Calif., March 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Air quality officials


tonight approved a revolutionary new approach to managing urban air quality -- the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market or RECLAIM.
 The South Coast Air Quality Management District governing board approved RECLAIM, the first comprehensive emissions trading program in the nation, by an 8-to-1 vote after a 6 1/2 hour hearing.
 "Today we've decided to harness the entrepreneurial spirit of our business community to clean up the air," said Henry Wedaa, AQMD chairman.
 "Under the RECLAIM program, emissions will decline, but businesses will gain flexibility in the timing and method of emission reductions.
 "Businesses will be able to reduce pollution where it is least expensive, rather than having to reduce it where and when they are told to by regulators."
 RECLAIM will cover 2,000 businesses that emit 85 percent of the smog-forming hydrocarbons emitted by AQMD-permitted sources and 700 businesses that emit 95 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions covered by AQMD permits. Each of these businesses, including electric utilities, will have to reduce hydrocarbon emissions by 5.8 percent a year and nitrogen oxide emissions by 8 percent a year.
 In addition, RECLAIM will cover some 100 firms that emit sulfur oxides, which contribute to fine particle pollution. An 8.5 percent annual emission reduction requirement is likely.
 AQMD's staff is to report back to the board this spring to summarize the issues raised at today's hearing and provide a timetable for dealing with those issues and developing a rule.
 Businesses that cut emissions more than required will gain credits that they can sell to other firms. Buyers will be able to use these credits to satisfy their emission reduction requirements.
 AQMD will track and verify the validity of all trades.
 To implement the emissions trading system, the staff will develop a rule over the upcoming year through numerous public workshops and meetings. After a final regulatory proposal is developed, it will be presented to the board for consideration at one or more public hearings. Emissions trading will begin in 1994.
 "The traditional command-and-control approach has served the region well in its battle against smog, cutting pollution levels by more than half since the 1950s," said James M. Lents, AQMD executive officer. "But we believe we have found a more efficient way to continue our progress.
 "So today, we're changing course.
 "RECLAIM will achieve equivalent public health protection with a lower cost and impact on jobs.
 "Moreover, trading of emissions credits will provide firms with an incentive to develop innovative pollution controls."
 Lents noted AQMD staff looks forward to working with businesses, environmental groups, unions and other interested parties as the program enters the rulemaking phase.
 To protect public health, toxic pollutants will not be eligible for trading under the program.
 Other program safeguards will include requiring all pollution control equipment to remain in place and operable and keeping in place all rules that require regular maintenance and good housekeeping practices.
 AQMD will closely monitor the program and make adjustments as it is implemented.
 AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties and the non-desert part of San Bernardino County.
 -0- 3/6/92
 /CONTACT: Tom Eichhorn (home), 714-673-1448, or Bill Kelly (home), 818-793-2005, or Claudia Keith or Paula Levy of AQMD, 714-396-3456/ CO: South Coast Air Quality Management District ST: California IN: SU:


AL-CH -- LA007 -- 5815 03/06/92 11:00 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 6, 1992
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