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U.S. EPA Study on SCAQMD's RECLAIM Program Available on the Web

Release Date: 11/8/2002
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, 415-947-4307

SAN FRANCISCO   On Friday, Nov. 8, 2002, the U.S. EPA Pacific Southwest Region's study of the South Coast Air Quality Management District's RECLAIM program will be made available to the public   both on hard-copy and at the EPA's Web site.

The Regional Clean Air Incentives Market   or RECLAIM program   was adopted by SCAQMD in October 1993. The program allows participating companies to trade air pollution while meeting clean air goals. Companies ranging from power producers to glass melters and facilities using industrial boilers participate in RECLAIM.

RECLAIM set an emissions cap and declining balance for many of the largest companies emitting nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) in the South Coast Air Basin. RECLAIM includes over 350 participants in its NOx market and about 40 participants in its SOx market.  RECLAIM has the longest history and practical experience of any locally designed and implemented air emissions cap and trade program.  

The program provides industry with flexibility to decide how to reduce emissions and advance pollution control technologies.  NOx and SOx allocations were issued to RECLAIM companies based on their historic levels and in consideration of future controls.  Companies in the program have the option of complying with their allocations by either reducing emissions or purchasing RECLAIM Trading Credits from other companies.

In 2000 and 2001, RECLAIM credit prices increased dramatically, while at the same time some facilities had difficulty meeting their emission levels.  This resulted in emissions exceeding what is allowed under RECLAIM.

The EPA decided to evaluate the causes of these events and to examine the effectiveness of the RECLAIM program.

The EPA wanted to learn if expected emission reductions were achieved, what types of emission control strategies were applied by market participants, and whether the program was cost-effective overall.

The result of the study is that the EPA believes that SCAQMD has done an effective job managing RECLAIM and modifying the program to adapt quickly to changing conditions.

Written requests for copies of our report or questions may be sent to Ken Israels, Air Division (AIR- 8), EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105.  You may also submit your requests electronically to israels.ken@epa.gov.

A copy of our evaluation is also available in the Air Programs section of EPA Region 9's      Web site, http://www.epa.gov/region09/air/reclaim/