Tuesday , April 23 2024

Following Scathing Report, Air District’s Emissions Banking Program Faces Scrutiny

Kevin Hamilton was surprised when he learned that, for decades, industries that pollute have been able to trade emissions reductions under a San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District program. It’s like a bank: If a company installs a new technology that reduces its pollution—and that’s the program’s goal—the company can earn what’s called emission reduction credits, or ERCs. It means it can emit more with no penalty. “And you can trade them, they have value,” Hamilton says. “You get a certificate, it’s like a stock certificate.” As the CEO of the Central California Asthma Collaborative, Hamilton is a long-time air quality advocate and community advisor to the Valley air district. When he began looking into the ERC program a few years ago, he was disappointed that so little information was available on who was earning credits and for how much. “I started asking: ‘Can we see a list of those?’ At that time, they couldn’t even produce a list for us,” he says. In other words: Is the
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