Ohio EPA Sets up Online Emissions Bank

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency introduced a new online voluntary emissions credit banking system recently to make it easier for companies to build or expand in Ohio counties that don't meet federal air quality standards, according to a Jan. 15 press release.

"The emissions bank can help buyers and sellers of emission credits connect quickly and easily, which is a big plus in today's fast-paced business environment," said Ohio EPA Director Chris Korleski. "We hope this will help foster economic activity in nonattainment areas, while still allowing us to improve air quality in these same areas."

The emissions banking system can be accessed on Ohio EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.state.oh.us/dapc/ERC/erc.html.

Under the Clean Air Act, a major emissions source cannot construct in a nonattainment area unless it obtains emission reduction credits, also known as emission offsets. For example, if a new facility wanted to locate in a nonattainment area and planned to emit 100 tons of carbon monoxide per year, it would need to obtain that amount of reductions (or credits) from another source. It can be time consuming and difficult for companies to find and verify available emission offsets. As a result, they often exclude nonattainment areas when considering where to locate a new facility.

Ohio must meet federal air quality standards for nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds (commonly referred to as VOCs), sulfur dioxide, fine particulates, carbon monoxide, and lead. Currently, 32 counties in Ohio do not meet federal standards for particulate matter and ozone. Ohio has submitted plans to U.S. EPA to lower pollution levels in nonattainment areas. Ohio EPA's goal is to bring these areas back into attainment, improving the areas' quality of life and the local economy.