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Environmental Progress - Summer 2003

"Cap and Trade" Program Continues Volatile Organic Emissions Reductions

EMRS program consistently exceeds expectations

ERMS Logo "Clean Air Reduced Cost ERMS"In 2000, Illinois became the first state in the nation to develop and implement a market-based cap and trade program for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the Emissions Reduction Market System (ERMS). The program was approved by U.S. EPA in 2001, allowing the achieved emission reductions to be credited toward Illinois' efforts to meet the federal one-hour standard for ground-level ozone.

During 2002, participating sources in the ERMS program reduced VOC emissions by 48 percent below their allotted emissions. Sources reduced VOCs by 38 percent in 2000 and 47 percent in 2001. Allotted emissions generally represent a 12 percent reduction from sources' baseline emissions or VOCs emitted in the mid-1990s.

"The Emissions Reduction Market System has consistently exceeded expectations and goals and continues to be an effective tool in improving air quality in the Chicago region," said Illinois EPA Director Renee Cipriano.

172 VOC sources are participating

The 172 participating sources, the largest VOC sources in the region, represented 23 different industrial categories in 2002. The ERMS program runs from May 1 through September 30, and correlates with the time of year when ozone formation occurs. VOCs contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and also include many hazardous air pollutants.

Additional information on the program is contained in the 2002 Annual Performance Review Report for ERMS.

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