Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

Je me souviens de…Offsetting GHG Emissions

Posted by Viola Funk on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program overseen by California’s Air Resources Board (ARB), which began earlier this year, not only allows for use of approved offsets to meet a portion of an entity’s emission reduction requirements. Entities will soon also be able to comply with the program by participating in its counterpart in the Canadian province of Quebec. By January 1, 2014, ARB’s cap-and-trade program will be linked with Quebec’s. A press release from ARB sums up key features of the linkage:

  • Each jurisdiction will accept the other’s carbon allowances and approved offsets for compliance under its respective cap-and-trade program

  • The two jurisdictions will share the Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service for tracking allowances and approved offsets

  • California and Quebec will share the online auction platform

  • Jurisdictions will share market monitoring services and information

  • Both will be supported by WCI, Inc. for basic administrative functions

  • Both will maintain control over their respective programs

ARB anticipates that the linkage will boost greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts, creating a larger pool of allowances and approved offsets. It also predicts that the linkage will serve as a model for possible future linkages with other jurisdictions’ programs. For more information see the ARB press release and the ARB “Linkage” page.

Point Sources in the Judicial Spotlight

A series of court decisions since 2001 has fine-tuned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) definition of “waters of the United States” as it applies to the NPDES permitting process under the Clean Water Act. This process continues; courts recently reaffirmed that nonnavigable tributaries of “navigable waters” can be covered by water quality requirements. These tributaries need not themselves be “waters of the United States.” For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has noted that intermittent streams and/or artificial constructions may constitute point sources of discharges to waters of the United States. See Rapanos v. United States, 547US 715, 126 S.Ct. 2208, 165 L.Ed.2d 159 (2006). This decision distinguished a pollutant that “naturally washes downstream” from discharges of dredge and fill materials that do not.

Specialty Technical Publishers (STP) provides a variety of single-law and multi-law services, intended to facilitate clients’ understanding of, and compliance with, EH&S requirements. These include:

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Tags: Health & Safety, Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, Greenhouse Gas, ghg