The California Air Resources Board on Monday adopted a regulation establishing a statewide system for mandatory annual emissions reporting for stationary sources.
The new system harmonizes statewide data submission requirements, bringing consistency in reporting deadlines and frequency of reporting, and making that data more easily accessible by the public.
The improved emission inventory data to be collected under the regulation is a key pillar in achieving main objectives of both Assembly Bill 617 and AB 197. One main objective is to further protect public health by reducing the impacts of criteria air pollutants and toxic air contaminants within California communities.
The new reporting system will help to ensure the state’s emissions inventory — the foundation of many of California’s programs devoted to protecting public health — is complete and transparent. Emissions inventory data is critical to understanding what air pollutants may contribute to adverse health risks or other community impacts.
“By ensuring the state’s emissions inventory is complete, with consistency in data collection across all 35 air districts, the state Air Resources Board, air districts, community members, scientists, industry and others will be better equipped to identify communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution exposure,” CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey said. “That’s important because the information can help inform which communities are most in need of resources to address inequities related to air pollution exposure.”
Under the regulation, more data from more facilities will be collected to create a more complete inventory of air pollution emissions data from stationary sources, including large factories and refineries, along with smaller emitters that pose a potential toxics emissions risk, such as gas stations, metal plating facilities, dry cleaners and auto body shops.
California’s criteria air pollutant and toxics emissions data is currently collected separately by the 35 independent local air districts across the state. The districts are diverse in size, population, geography and the types and numbers of emissions sources. This diversity has led to variations in how — and how often — emissions data is collected, completeness of data collection and how it’s used and shared.
Assembly Bill 617 was developed in part to address issues of air pollution data inconsistency. AB 617 directs CARB to work closely with local air districts to create a uniform statewide emissions data collection system for criteria pollutants and air toxics. AB 197 also requires CARB to make available the emissions of greenhouse gases, criteria pollutants and toxic air contaminants for each facility that reports to CARB and to the air districts. The regulation adopted today will significantly increase access to useful data in user-friendly forms, such as mapping and graphs.
As discussed at the meeting, CARB staff will continue to work with air districts and stakeholders on refining elements of the new requirements and possible needs for additional funding. This transparent collaborative process will also include public workshops in the coming weeks and months.
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