The Houston-Galveston region is designated as non-attainment by the Clean Air Act (CAA) for exceeding the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for the pollutant ozone. There can be no net increases in air emissions for the eight-county non-attainment region consisting of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties.
Area Emission Reduction Credit Organizations (AERCOs)
Under the authority of the CAA, Area Emission Reduction Credit Organizations (AERCOs) were created by the Texas Legislature to promote the improvement of air quality and economic development through the acquisition and distribution of emission credits. AERCO Board members represent various stakeholder interests throughout the non-attainment area.
The CAA allows for industrial sources to receive permits for new or increased air emissions if these are offset by the reduction of emissions elsewhere in the non-attainment area. The CAA requires that the emission reductions offset new emissions by a 1.3 to 1 ratio. Emission credits obtained by reductions may be generated or used anywhere within the eight-county area. AERCOs in the non-attainment areas may serve as regional credit banks and may buy and sell credits.
Houston-Galveston AERCO Regional Market
The Houston-Galveston AERCO is actively seeking to assist in the process of creating, documenting, and certifying emission credits and allowances. The Houston-Galveston AERCO will buy credits as Emission Reduction Credits (ERCs), Mobile Emission Reduction Credits (MERCs), Discrete Emission Reduction Credits (DERCs), and Mobile Discrete Emission Reduction Credits (MDERCs).
Emission offsets are required for new sources, major industrial modifications, and compliance with required/state mandated emission reductions. All credits and allowances are certified with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Emissions Banking and Trading Program.
Through a 501(c)3 designation by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the Houston-Galveston AERCO ( Tax ID# 760474318 ) is able to receive tax deductible donations of emission reduction credits or contributions.
The organization is seeking cash contributions or donations of credits so that the nonattainment area will continue to have an emission credit banking system. Donated credits are accepted as payment for AERCO's staff and expertise in implementing emission credit trades and/or banking. AERCO is also accepting credit donations equivalent to emission reductions as a result of employers implementing e-commuting programs within their offices. Tax deductions received are the equivalent of the current market value for emission credit.