RECLAIM

NOx/SOx

    To set emissions targets for NOx/SOx the District Board of California made an Air Quality Management Plan ("AQMP") in 1991, that meets the CAA standards. The AQMP set definite targets to be met in 2000 and 2003.[EN8The NOx/SOx program also dealt with regulating large businesses that were use to strict control delegated to them under CAC.[EN9Because of their history under CAC, the NOx/SOx industry was well monitored, had knowledge about possible future control technology, and both industry and regulators were well versed in compliance issues.[EN10This program also included both high and low-cost abaters, so the possibility of trading was heightened.[EN11Finally, there was little opposition to implementing the NOx/SOx ETS because it met all the federal requirements and the industries to be regulated saw that it could provide them cost savings.[EN12]

VOC

    One of the main oppositions to creating a VOC trading regime was the lack of knowledge of future technology. There was not much known about the future of abatement technology in the VOC case because this area was not regulated under CAC like NOx and SOxIt was felt that an ETS with a cap was not flexible enough to be adjusted if the technology it is based on does not develop and will force the industry to either buy more permits, produce less, pay penalties or go out of business.[EN13] Because the industry saw this possible catastrophe, it vehemently opposed the VOC program but accepted the NOx/SOx program. Businesses were sure that, if the technology required under CAC did not work effectively they could get it reevaluated, but this certainty was not there for the VOC-ETS.

It was hard for the regulators to decide on a level of permits to allocate because there was no actual monitoring of emissions.[EN14There were no previously adopted levels of VOC abatement for the contemplated ending allocation of permits in 2005.[EN15]

The levels of VOC emissions that had been gathered were argued to be low because there was a recession at the time that the standards would have been set (1993) and the CAA required that VOC be reduced by three percent every year after 1997.[EN16]  If the numbers were understated not enough permits would be issued and industry would suffer. If too many emissions where reported then industry would be allowed to pollute more than levels before the allocations.

If these reductions were not met, and it was felt that they would not be because of lack of compliance by industry, then environmental and public health interest groups could sue the Board under the CAA.[EN17]

    VOC emissions were hard to monitor because these are naturally occurring substances that are generated by a lot of the sources cannot be regulated. VOC's are emitted by the breakdown of many organic substances that cannot be controlled by human activity. To aid in monitoring, environmental groups asked that manufacturers be made to label their products with VOC data and an identification number, so that their products could be tracked and verified. An expensive labeling program was not expected under CAC so this was yet another reason to oppose a VOC-ETS.[EN18]

    The lack of previous regulations also made the ability to predict future abatement technology harder. Because future abatement possibilities were less certain, industry preferred to stay with CAC because they knew that those regulations would be reevaluated if they could not be met.