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?
TEXT FROM EMAIL OF JUNE 26, 2022
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
Hexavalent chrome in ambient California air is
at record low levels, see https://www.arb.ca.gov/adam/toxics/statepages/cr6state.html.
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
Thanks for your time. The Hex Chrome ATCM
referenced repeatedly in this email can be found here.