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Comment 15 for Proposed Amendments to the ATCM for Chromium Electroplating and Chromic Acid Anodizing Operations (chromeatcm2023) - 45 Day.

First NameJim
Last NameMeyer
SubjectSRIA analysis is flawed and does not agree with CARB data

I submitted the text below addressed to the CARB Board, CARB Staff, and the California Department of Finance on June 26, 2022.  In the email, I refer to actual emissions of 2.2 pounds which is the amount of actual emissions referenced in the SRIA. However, the latest CARB document (Appendix B) on this website now shows that actual emissions are 0.9 pounds annually. CARB's numbers don't match. Hmmm. Actual emissions have dropped by more than half since June? I guess this just weakens CARB's case all the more. An analysis based on actual experience would show even less emission reduction.  Is this SRIA even a viable document anymore? At what point in this regulatory process does the State stop the presses to validate the basic data from which economic assessments are made?  



The most important number in the Chrome ATCM SRIA is 2.2 pounds. You can find it in Table 2.1 on page 21 of the SRIA. Go look at it. It is important. The total pre-pandemic hexavalent chrome emissions from chrome platers in California is 2.2 pounds annually. A fact – 2.2 pounds annually.


The most revealing number in the Chrome ATCM SRIA is 132 pounds. You can find this number on the top of page 2. It is the purpose for the rule. According to the SRIA, rule adoption will eliminate 132 pounds over 20 years. That is an average of 6.6 pounds per year. From a starting point of 2.2 pounds. It bears repeating. The new rule will eliminate 6.6 pounds per year from the currently emitted total of 2.2 pounds per year.


There would be no chrome platers after 2039 so emissions will be 0.0 pounds. Sacramento math is exposed. Specifically (2.2 - 6.6 = 0.0). Remember, the Chrome ATCM SRIA is a combined product of the California Air Resources Board and the California Department of Finance and yet it implicates the California Department of Education.


It is not a co-incidence that CARB and the California Department of Finance separate these two numbers, the big flashy benefit savings on page 2 and the actual emissions on page 21. The key to big savings results are big baseline assumptions. Section 1.6 and the footnotes in Table 2.1 describe the method and assumptions for establishing the baseline. The inflated baseline is justified in the following ways:

  1. They create the concept of “potential” emissions. These are emissions that facilities could make, at the discretion of the facility, which are not currently prohibited by permit throughput limits. You are led to believe chrome emissions will, or could, go up to this level, but that is not a good assumption. Experience shows us that chrome plating emissions have done nothing but decline in California for decades.
  2. They assume that pollution control equipment operates at no better than the permit efficiency level or lacking pollution control equipment, that facilities are emitting the maximum.
  3. They created a magnification factor to account for data they did not collect from all facilities, and they chose the highest “at limit” assumption about that data.
  4. Finally, they added a disclaimer, ”Using emission limits may overestimate actual emissions at some facilities.”  A more accurate statement could have been “Using emission limits does overestimate actual emissions at facilities in aggregate” and they did do exactly that.

The result of this creativity is a baseline of 10.19 pounds per year if you read page 15 and 10.15 pounds per year if you look at Table 21. We could question the discrepancy between 10.19 and 10.15 but we will move on because there is something more important that you should be aware of. At the beginning of this email, we talked about 6.6 pounds per year of savings. That number is derived because the rule doesn’t eliminate hex chrome until 2039 so it is an average over 20 years. Beginning in 2039, at elimination, the benefit is 10.15/10.19 pounds per year. So, the Sacramento math is even worse (2.20 – 10.19 = 0.00).


Let’s get back to discussing the baseline assumptions - the “potential” emissions and “(in)efficiency” of pollution control devices. Chrome platers deserve some credit. They do currently operate within limits and are choosing to operate with a margin of safety below the limit. They do this to assure complete compliance. “Potential” emissions are foregone in order to assure compliance and are already achieved. Additionally, many chrome platers have invested in expensive pollution control equipment which operates at a higher efficiency than required by rule limits. Assuming inefficiency equal to the rule limit is not valid – especially in view of source test data in the possession of regulators that is referenced in the SRIA. So, the baseline is arbitrarily high. It assumes both these factors do not already exist. But they do. Emissions have already been reduced by the chrome plating industry. As a result of improvements in Rule 1469, there is not a need for additional regulation. This is plainly evident and explains the nearly 5 to 1 ratio between the baseline and actual experience. These concepts should not be used to inflate a baseline or to justify the costs proposed in this ATCM. The costs the rule would impose on plating firms and the California economy should not be justified by phantom elimination of emissions that have already been eliminated.


It is also important to understand that the assumed baseline does not include fugitive emissions and that none of the quantified benefit is from fugitive emissions. Additionally, there is no quantified benefit from PFAS elimination. Despite the lack of data and specificity on either fugitives or PFAS, the benefits of eliminating them are discussed. This is unfortunate and misleading. The discussion attempts to provide a basis for the board to support (and perhaps vote for) this rule proposal in the absence of data. Do not be misled. Fugitives and PFAS evoke fear. Without quantification or estimation, they should not be discussed. If they can be quantified, CARB should present the data so that it can be discussed effectively. Note, there are already rules in place and in development against use of PFAS. Additionally, AQMD Rule 1469 already has significant controls against fugitive emissions.


Hexavalent chrome in ambient California air is at record low levels, see The 2.2 pounds which would be eliminated by the proposed rule are a factor of 10X less than at least one other non-mobile hexavalent chromium source known to the CARB and to SC AQMD. Effective regulation of hexavalent chromium in California demands that regulatory resources are directed at the most fertile opportunities for improvement. The chrome plating industry has been highly regulated in California. Industry emissions improved before the adoption of SC AQMD rule 1469 and should be expected to continue to improve following its’ update in 2019. It should be noted that 2019 is the basis for many of the datapoints in the SRIA and 2.2 pounds is likely a high estimate of current emissions. There is not a need for a new CARB rule. Application of the current SC AQMD Rule 1469 to the entire State of California is a much more effective path.  


Thanks for your time. The Hex Chrome ATCM referenced repeatedly in this email can be found here.


Original File Name
Date and Time Comment Was Submitted 2022-12-14 08:54:26

If you have any questions or comments please contact Clerk of the Board at (916) 322-5594.

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