CALIFORNIA AIR RESOURCES BOARD
State Building Auditorium
107 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA
June 21, 1990
90-8-1 Public Hearing to Consider Air Resources 001
Board Adoption of Updated Conformity
Procedures as a Revision to the State
Implementation Plan for the South Coast
90-8-2 Public Hearing to Consider Amendments to a 051
Regulation Limiting the Sulfur Content of
Motor Vehicle Diesel Fuel Statewide.
90-8-3 Public Hearing to Consider a Report 075
Regarding Motor Vehicle Toxics Control Plan
and Review of Schedule.
ITEM NO.: 90-8-1
Public Hearing to consider the adoption of updated conformity
procedures for the inclusion in the State Implementation Plan for
the South Coast Air Basin.
Staff recommends that the Board approve the updated conformity
procedures and forward them to the Environmental Protection
Agency as a SIP revision.
Federal Conformity Requirements
Section 176 of the 1977 federal Clean Air Act amendments
prohibits federal agencies and Metropolitan Planning
Organizations (MPOs) from approving any project or activity that
does not conform to applicable SIP. (SCAG is the MPO for the
South Coast Air Basin). The EPA requires conformity procedures
in every SIP, based on a policy established in 1981.
Chronology of Conformity Actions
The 1982 plan for the South Coast Air Basin contained conformity
procedures. Those procedures were approved by EPA and will be
part of the SIP until EPA receives and approves new conformity
The South Coast District and SCAG updated the 1982 conformity
procedures, as part of the 1989 AQMP. The updated procedures
have already been implemented locally, but will not become part
of the official SIP until they are approved by ARB and EPA for
Key Changes to the Conformity Procedures
The updated conformity procedures are more formal than the
original procedures. The original version provided questions for
local agencies to ask themselves to determine conformity. The
new version establishes four separate processes, for reviewing
four different types of local government action. SCAG's role in
conformity review has been substantially expanded, though SCAG's
authority has remained the same. The new version also provides
for more project-by-project review.
Ongoing Local Actions Related to Conformity
Once the conformity procedures were complete, SCAG began work on
conformity handbooks. The handbooks are more detailed
explanations of the procedures, for use by local implementing
agencies. The handbooks were approved by SCAG's Executive
Committee on March 22, 1990, and were reviewed by the District
Board on May 4, 1990. Because the handbooks are explicator,
only, they are not subject to EPA, ARB or District approval and
will not be submitted as a SIP revision.
Issues and Concerns
The updated conformity procedures would have been approved by
Executive Order, if not for the insistent and numerous requests
for a public hearing. Local governments resent SCAG's
involvement in their permitting activities and mistakenly believe
SCAG can and will deny permits (SCAG cannot -- it is not a
permitting agency for general development). The construction
industry has similar concerns, are reacts heatedly to the
jobs/housing balance goal in the 1989 AQMP. these two groups
hope that an ARB hearing will in some way change the conformity
procedures or the 1989 AQMP.
The federal conformity requirement is a lightning rod in its own
right. From time to time, environmental groups and slow-growth
advocates seize on conformity review as a barrier to further
development. The situation is worsened by legal uncertainties.
For post-1987 nonattainment areas, there is often substantial
confusion as to which plan is controlling for conformity review,
and EPA has not always taken a consistent position in this
Extent of Board Authority
The Board's authority over the conformity procedures is quite
limited. The Board is required to adopt all SIP revisions as
approved by local designated agencies unless the Board finds that
the SIP revision does not satisfy federal law.
IMPACT OF PROPOSED ACTION
The Board's approval of the conformity procedures would complete
the Board's action on the 1989 AWMP for the South Coast Air
Basin. This is essentially an administrative matter, since the
conformity procedures have already been implemented locally.
ITEM NO.: 90-8-2
Proposed Amendments to the Regulation Limiting the Sulfur Content
in Motor Vehicle Diesel Fuels.
The staff recommends that the Board adopt the proposed amendment
to Section 2255 - Sulfur Content of Motor Vehicle Diesel Fuel.
The Board on November 17, 1988, adopted a regulation establishing
a statewide sulfur content limit of 500 ppm for motor vehicle
diesel fuel. The Board also adopted a regulation limiting the
aromatic hydrocarbon content of diesel fuel to 10 percent for
large refiners and to 20 percent for small refiners. The adopted
regulation for sulfur content contains a less stringent limit of
1500 ppm for diesel fuel dispensed between November 1 and March
31 at altitudes above 3000 feet.
In May 1989, the staff reported to the Board on a number of
issues that had been identified during the November 1988 Board
hearing. Among these issues was a request to further investigate
the need for a less stringent wintertime sulfur limit. The staff
has completed its investigation and found that there is
sufficient information to propose deletion of this wintertime
The 1500 ppm sulfur content provision adopted by the Board for
diesel fuel dispensed during wintertime at high altitudes was
based on the assertion that during the winter high sulfur content
jet fuel must be blended with the low sulfur content diesel fuel
in order to meet cloud/pour point requirements. Both cloud and
pour points are the characteristics of low temperature flow
properties of diesel fuels. Staff investigated the need for such
a separate limit for wintertime by reviewing refiners' data on
the sulfur content of jet and kerosine fuels produced by refiners
in the state and by investigating alternatives to jet fuel
Refiners' data on jet fuel and kerosine production for the year
1986, show that the sulfur content of the majority of
kerosine/jet fuel produced by California refiners is well below
the 500 ppm limit. this implies that a 1500 ppm limit is not
needed because the resultant diesel/jet fuel blend would have a
sulfur content below the 500 ppm limit.
Staff also investigated alternatives to the blending with jet
fuel such as the use of cloud/pour point depressant additives.
It was found that such an alternative is feasible because
cloud/pour point depressant additives are currently available in
the marketplace and are used by some fleet operators in the
winter. These additives can be used at a cost of less than one
cent per gallon.
The 1500 ppm limit is not needed because either the sulfur
content of the jet fuel produced in California already meets the
500 ppm limit or existing cloud/pour point depressant additives
could be used to limit the need for jet fuel blending. Also, EPA
has announced a proposed rule that, if implemented, would limit
the sulfur content of on-highway diesel fuel to 500 ppm. EPA's
proposed standard does not include a less stringent wintertime-high altitude
sulfur content provision.
ITEM NO.: 90-8-3
Public Hearing to Consider a Report Regarding Motor Vehicle
Toxics Control Plan and Review of Schedule.
Approve the Motor Vehicle Toxics Control Plan for implementation.
Toxic substances emitted into California's ambient air have
become an important issue this decade. Sections 39650-39674 of
the California Health & Safety Code were enacted in 1983
(Assembly Bill 1807; Stats. 1983, ch. 1047) to require the
identification and control of toxic air contaminants to protect
public health. Assembly Bill 4392 (AB 4392, Brown and Tanner,
Stats. 1988, ch. 940) amended section 39667 and added section
39663 to the Health and Safety Code regarding motor vehicle
Health and Safety Code section 39663 requires the Board to (1)
assess and prioritize known and suspected toxic air contaminants
emitted by vehicular sources ("motor vehicle toxics") and (2)
develop a plan for reducing public exposure to motor vehicle
toxics. The first requirement involves the preparation of a
report that addresses the nature, extent, and severity of
exposure to toxic substances emitted by motor vehicles. This
report ("Motor Vehicle Toxics: Assessment of Sources, Potential
Risks and Control Measures") was considered by the Board at a
public hearing on June 8, 1989. The second requirement of AB
4392 directs the Board to reassess its schedule for reviewing
toxic substances and give appropriate emphasis to motor vehicle
toxics where it is warranted and to consider a plan, no later
than June 30, 1990, for maximizing control of motor vehicle
toxics (Health and Safety Code section 39663).
In fulfillment of the second requirement of Health and Safety
Code section 39663, staff has prepared "Motor Vehicle Toxics
Control Plan and Review of Schedule" ("Report"), a report
regarding reassessment of the toxics review schedule and the
presentation of a motor vehicle toxics plan. The report is
The June 1989 informational report identified five substances as
accounting or 98 percent of the cumulative statewide number of
estimated cancer cases attributable to motor vehicles. In
decreasing order of risk, these were benzene, 1,3-butadiene,
diesel particulate, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde. An update of
the informational report resulted in the addition of styrene to
the list of motor vehicle toxics for which cancer risk would be
estimated. However, the five above-mentioned substances retained
their original rankings.
The five high-risk substances mentioned above have either been
formally identified (section 93000, Title 17, California Code of
Regulations) or are under review for identification as a toxic
air contaminant. The board thus has recognized the health risk
associated with the emissions of these substances and the
proportion of this risk that is attributable to motor vehicles.
Staff recommends that the Board find the current classification
of these five substances to be appropriate with respect to
recognizing the statewide cancer risk associated with their
emissions, as well as providing a mechanism for reducing public
exposure to vehicular emissions of these substances.
The principal elements of the motor vehicle toxics control plan
include the "Post-1987 Motor Vehicle Plan" and toxic-specific
measures. Large emission reductions of non-methane hydrocarbons
(which are major ozone precursors) are projected under the Post-1987 Motor
Vehicle Plan. These emission reductions are also
expected to result in a proportional and substantial
emission/risk reduction of the five high-risk toxic substances
identified above. For this reason, the Post-1987 Motor Vehicle
Plan is being considered the foundation of the motor vehicle
toxics plan called for in AB 4392.
A key element in the revised Post-1987 Motor Vehicle Plan will be
the effort, which is currently under way, to develop and
introduce low and ultra low emitting vehicles. This program
alone is expected to result in an approximate 45 percent
statewide reduction in NMHC emitted from light-duty vehicles over
the period 2000 to 2010 alone. The same proportional reduction
in benzene, 1,3-butadiene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde is
expected, and the number of cancer cases due to these high-risk
substances should be substantially reduced by the year 2010.
Staff further recommends that the Board continue to monitor
progress in reducing motor vehicle toxic substances and develop
additional control programs if and when they become necessary.