ARB Announces SIP Economic Study Contractors
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board today announced that M.Cubed, a private economic analysis firm, has been selected to conduct an independent economic analysis on the CARB's draft State Implementation Plan (SIP), as requested by Governor Pete Wilson.
M.Cubed, a San Francisco based firm, under contract with CARB, is leading an analytical team including Acurex Environmental Corporation and the Radian Corporation. Their work will be coordinated by CARB, the Trade and Commerce Agency and the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. An initial analysis is expected in time for CARB's public hearing on the implementation plan, scheduled for November 9 and 10 in Sacramento.
"We have brought together a team of experts to carry out the Governor's request for a thorough economic review of the staff proposed SIP. It's imperative that the state's plan to restore healthful air quality does so at the least possible cost and in a way that helps keep California's economy competitive," said Jacqueline E. Schafer, Air Resources Board chairwoman.
CARB released its staff report on the state's plan to attain the federal ozone standard on October 7 in order to hold its public hearing on the draft proposal in time to meet the November 15 national deadline for submitting those plans.
While recognizing that an independent economic analysis might delay final submission of a Board approved SIP, Governor Wilson insisted in his recent letter to CARB that "it was more important to ensure that the plan not only protects public health and air quality, but also protects jobs."
"We must prevent implementation of the irresponsible and devastating federal plan and instead offer a SIP that achieves clean air in a sensible way -- without the same rippling costs to our economy that are threatened by the FIP," Wilson said in the October 8 letter.
Noting that many other states have already indicated that their state plans may be submitted in whole or in part after November 15, Cal/EPA Secretary James M. Strock added, "With so many states considering their own adoption of California's regulations, strong leadership requires that we make sure we get it right. If that takes a little more time up front, common sense says that it is well worth it."
The federal Clean Air Act requires areas throughout the nation with ozone levels rated serious or higher to design achievable plans to reduce their pollution to concentrations within air quality limits set by the USEPA. California, with six such regions including the metropolitan Los Angeles, Sacramento, Ventura, the San Joaquin Valley, San Diego and the Mojave Desert, is among those states required to develop a clean air plan.
The Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) is a clean air plan imposed on three of the state's SIP areas, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Ventura, by the USEPA. That plan contains measures that have been estimated to potentially cost the state as much as $8.4 billion in direct costs, and up to $17.2 billion in output and 165,000 jobs.
The federal plan relies heavily on outdated emissions data and state and local anti-pollution efforts to achieve clean air standards without equal commitments to set nationwide pollution limits on sources that only it can control, such as ships, locomotives, farm and construction equipment.
"We have drawn industry, academia, local government, and environmental groups into the discussion through a series of symposia on potential SIP measures," noted Schafer. "Air districts are going through the same process of exploring emission control options at the local level. Through this process, we have concluded that attainment of the national ambient air quality standards is a formidable task that can only be accomplished of each and every party does its full, fair share," she added.
The ARB will hold a public workshop on the plan on October 28 in Sacramento. Some members of the economic analysis review team are expected to be present at that meeting.