July 9, 2018
CARB Releases Final Plan for Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust
CARB released the approved Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for California’s $423 million share of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. Staff are now working with state administrators, including the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, to begin implementation. CARB plans to conduct public work-group meetings in the fall to develop project requirements, solicitations, and application processes; the funding is likely to become available in early 2019.
CARB Releases Draft Innovative Clean Transit Regulation
At a June 13 public workshop, CARB rolled out its draft proposal for the Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) regulation, which would transition California’s transit systems to zero emissions by 2040 while improving transit services. The draft includes the following provisions:
- Mandating that transit agencies develop individual plans to move to a zero-emission bus (ZEB) fleet by 2040, with mandatory ZEB purchases beginning in 2023
- Purchasing renewable fuels when diesel or natural gas contracts are renewed
- Buying low-NOx engines, if available, for conventional bus purchases
The Coalition has suggested three amendments: including a sunset date for old diesel buses still in service to reduce the number of diesel vehicles on the road and push the transition to alternative fuel buses; creating an off-ramp for the deferral process for agencies that would have difficulty transitioning to zero-emission vehicles; and conducting a technology feasibility study before 2026, including assessment of the larger transit agencies mandated to switch to ZEBs between 2023 and 2026. CARB will hold its first hearing to consider the regulation in September, and the second in the winter. The board anticipates that the rule will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
EPA Proposes New Renewable Fuel Mandates
The EPA has issued a proposed rule under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program that would set the minimum amount of renewable fuel that must be supplied to the market in 2019 per the Clean Air Act. The rule would increase the amount for all four categories of biofuels. According to Johannes Escudero, CEO of the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, the mandate includes a 32 percent increase for cellulosic biofuels (including RNG), which would provide some market certainty for stakeholders investing in new RNG production facilities.
The advanced biofuel level for 2019 would increase by almost 600 million gallons over this year’s, while the cellulosic biofuel amount would increase by almost 100 million gallons to 381 million gallons. The RNG industry produces more than 95 percent of the fuel used to meet the RFS program’s cellulosic biofuel requirement; production has increased from 33 million gallons in 2014 to more than 240 million gallons in 2017.
Chevron and ExxonMobil Co-Found New Methane Emissions Consortium
U.S. energy companies Chevron, ExxonMobil, Cheniere Energy, and Pioneer Natural Resources, plus the Gas Technology Institute, have joined forces to create a new methane emissions consortium focused on reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Called the Collaboratory to Advance Methane Science (CAMS), the consortium will pursue scientific research and solutions to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas drilling through the refining and petrochemical processes. CAMS was announced less than a week after new academic research found that U.S. oil and gas operations are releasing far more methane than the federal government has estimated.
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