The Department of Ecology has adopted a new clean air rule establishing greenhouse gas emission standards. The rule applies to businesses that emit more than 100,000 metric tons of carbon pollution per year. Under the new rule, these businesses will be required to cap emissions and reduce them gradually starting in 2017 at a rate of around 1.7% per year. More businesses will be phased in over time as the compliance threshold is lowered. By 2035, the compliance threshold will be lowered to 70,000 metric tons of carbon pollution per year.
The rule allows affected businesses to seek Ecology-approved alternatives to comply with the rule where limiting emissions is not feasible. Businesses may be able meet their obligations by developing approved projects that will reduce carbon pollution in the state, such as dairy digesters or renewable power projects. Businesses that reduce emissions more than required will be able to trade or sell their excess reductions to those that are not able to reduce emissions.
Ecology has identified twenty-four facilities statewide that will likely be covered by the first phase of the rule. By 2035, sixty to seventy businesses are expected to be affected. Whatcom County’s refineries and larger power plants will be among the local businesses impacted in the rule’s initial phase.
For more information on how the clean air rule might impact your business, please contact our office.