Emission Reduction Credits
The Rules for the Control of Air Pollution in Idaho (IDAPA 58.01.01.460 and 461) allow facilities that generate air pollution to earn emission reduction credits (ERCs) and establishes procedures for facilities to bank the ERCs they earn with DEQ.
What are ERCs?
ERCs are credits, expressed in tons per year, which are earned by companies when they reduce emissions of certain air pollutants beyond what is required by permits and rules. ERCs are intended to provide an incentive for reducing emissions below required levels, and to establish a framework to promote a market-based approach to air pollution control.
How are ERCs generated?
Facilities can reduce emissions to earn ERCs by a variety of methods:
- Permanently curtailing production or hours of operation, which results in actual emissions reductions
- Using new technologies, materials, processes or equipment modifications that are not required for compliance
- Installing improved control measures that decrease actual emissions
- Implementing a pollution prevention program
- Shutting down an existing source or facility
What are ERCs used for?
ERCs have a market value. Facilities creating ERCs can bank them for use at their own facilities or trade or sell them to other facilities for their use. Siting of new industries may be limited in certain areas, classified as nonattainment areas, where air pollution exceeds federal and state standards. Companies that wish to open a facility or add equipment in these areas can redeem ERCs to offset the emissions above a certain threshold. Offset requirements include a tradeoff ratio to ensure a net air quality benefit.
What is DEQ's role?
Within 1 year after facilities take steps to reduce emissions, they may apply to DEQ for an air quality permit to bank an emission reduction credit. If all requirements have been met, DEQ may issue the permit and a Certificate of Ownership for an emission reduction credit. The certificate identifies the owner of the credits, quantifies the credited emission reduction, and describes the characteristics of the emissions that were reduced and emissions units that emitted them.
DEQ is required by state air pollution control rules to maintain a public registry of all banked ERCs, indicating the current holder of each certificate of ownership and the amount and type of credited emissions.
Idaho's ERC Registry
The following certificates of ownership have been issued in Idaho:
- J.R. Simplot Company, Heyburn Facility
- Croman Corporation, Boise Facility
- Riley Creek Lumber, Sandpoint Facility
- J.R. Simplot Company, Caldwell Facility
- J.R. Simplot Company, Pocatello Facility
- J.R. Simplot Company, Nampa Facility