The South Coast Air Quality Management District board voted 10-1 to allow low-level polluters to sell their credits to companies seeking to expand their operations and emit more pollution, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But environmental groups called the emission credits “phony”. The Natural Resources Defense Council said the air district used up its cache of emissions credits long ago.
The L.A. area is the smoggiest region in the nation, according to the board.
This is the third time the board has weighed the issue since 2006, the Times reported, and several environmental groups have pursued lawsuits against the board.
In 2009 a court imposed a moratorium on trading credits – a ban that the California legislature has temporarily lifted, until 2012.
In related news, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a court filing that it will exempt certain projects, including the San Joaquin Valley’s 600MW Avenal Power Center, from new federal limits on greenhouse gases and airborne pollutants.
Under the exemption, projects that have been stuck in the permitting phase for years would not need to show that they are using the best available technology to control emissions, the New York Times said.
Picture credit: Peyri Herrera