General Information


What Is The North Carolina ERCs Registry? 

The Emission Reduction Credits Registry was created in 2005 to assist facilities looking for emission offsets for nonattainment New Source Review (NSR) permitting. Facilities that voluntarily reduce emissions may apply to the North Carolina Department of Environment And Natural Resources, Division of Air Quality to register the emission reductions as Emission Reduction Credits (ERCs) for future use. The nonattainment NSR permitting requirements are intended to help the North Carolina nonattainment areas achieve compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and preserve good air quality in areas that meet the state and federal health standards.

The purpose of the Emission Reduction Credits Registry is to provide a central, publicly available location where information about emission credits can be stored and viewed. When sources that emit air pollutants cease operating or reduce emissions beyond what the law requires, they create emission credits, which may be used by facilities in the same geographic area that are seeking to increase emissions. This information will be particularly useful to sources wanting to locate or expand in areas designated as nonattainment under the NAAQS.

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What Counties Are Affected?

For current designations see here.

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Boundary Designations for 8-hour Ozone Standards for North Carolina.
(P) - Partial Counties
(EAC) - Early Action Compacts

Boundary Designations for 8-hour Ozone Standards for North Carolina
Nonattainment Area Name
(EAC)-Early Action Compacts
(P)-Partial Counties
Classification Maximum Attainment Date
(from June 15, 2004)
Charlotte-Gastonia-RockHill, NC-SC Gaston, Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Iredell (P), Lincoln, Rowan, Union Moderate June 2010
Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, NC (EAC) Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Alamance, Caswell, Randolph, Rockingham Marginal December 2007
Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Durham, Granville, Wake, Chatham (P), Franklin, Johnston, Orange, Person Basic June 2009
Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir, NC (EAC) Alexander, Burke (P), Caldwell (P), Catawba Basic December 2007
Haywood, Swain, (Great Smoky Mountains National Park), NC Haywood (P), Swain (P) Basic June 2009
Fayetteville, NC (EAC) Cumberland Basic December 2007
Rocky Mount, NC Edgecombe, Nash Basic June 2009
Boundary Designations Fine Particle (PM2.5) Standards for North Carolina
Nonattainment Area Name Counties Classification Maximum Attainment Date
(April 5, 2005)
Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir, NC Catawba N/A April 2010
Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, NC Davidson, Guilford N/A April 2010

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What Is An Emission Reduction Credit?

An Emission Reduction Credit (ERC) represents a real, permanent, enforceable, quantifiable, and surplus reduction in air pollutant emissions equal to one ton of pollutant per year (1 tpy) that exceeds the amount of reduction required under state or federal law, regulation, order (i.e., consent decrees, agreed orders, etc.), or other enforceable mechanism. Emission reductions are considered real if they represent the reduction in actual emissions emitted into the air. Emission reductions are considered permanent if they are assured for the life of the corresponding emission reduction credit through an enforceable mechanism such as a permit condition or revocation. Emission reductions are considered quantifiable if the amount, rate and characteristics of the emission credit can be estimated through a reliable, reproducible method approved by the Division. Emission reductions are considered surplus if they are not required by any local, state, or federal law, regulation, order, or requirement and in excess of reduction used by the Division in issuing any air permit, in excess of any conditions in an air permit to avoid an otherwise applicable requirement, or to demonstrate attainment of ambient air quality standards in 15A NCAC 2D .0400 or reasonable further progress towards achieving attainment of ambient air quality standards. For the purpose of determining the amount of surplus emission reduction, any seasonal emission limitation or standard will be assumed to apply throughout the year. The following are not considered surplus:

  1. Emission reductions which have previously been used to avoid 15A NCAC 2D .0530 or .0531 (new source review) through a netting demonstration;
  2. Emission reductions in hazardous air pollutants listed pursuant to Section 112(b) of the federal Clean Air Act to the extent needed to comply with 15A NCAC 2D .1109, .1111, or .1112. Emission reductions in hazardous air pollutants that are also VOC beyond that necessary to comply with 15A NCAC 2D .1109, .1111, or .1112 are surplus.
  3. Emission reductions used to offset excess emissions from another sources as part of an alternative mix of controls ("bubble") demonstration under 15A NCAC 2D .0501.

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Who May Use The ERCs Registry?

Any facility that have the potential to emit NOx, VOC, SO2, or PM2.5 in amounts greater than 25 tons per year and are located in federally designated ozone or PM2.5 nonattainment areas in North Carolina shall be eligible to create and bank NOx, VOC, SO2, or PM2.5 emission reduction credits.

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Why Must Facilities Obtain ERCs For Use As Offsets?

Facilities undergoing nonattainment NSR permitting requirements must offset the increase in emissions from the proposed new construction and provide a net air quality benefit. The purpose of offsetting these emissions is to allow an area to move toward attainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) while still allowing industrial growth.

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What Information Will The ERCs Registry Contain?

The Emission Reduction Credit Registry will include the following information with respect to each registered emission credit:

  1. Identification of the regulated air pollutant reduced.
  2. Name, location, including the county, and facility contact person of the facility generating the emission reduction credit.
  3. The amount of the emission reduction credit.
  4. The date the emission reduction occurred.
  5. Name, location, including the county, and facility contact person of the facility that has purchased and/or used any portion of the emission credits registered.
  6. The date and amount of emission credits withdrawn from the ERCs Registry.

NOTE: Only a portion of this data will be posted to this website. The DAQ will maintain records of all deposit applications, deposits, withdrawals, and transactions. Anyone wishing to see all of the data submitted for the Registry will need to view the applications in the Public File Room of the appropriate regional office or Raleigh central office.

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What Fees Are Associated With The ERCs Registry?

There are no fees for registering emission reductions or updating the ERCs Registry. There are, however, permit application fees associated with the actions that result in generation of emissions reductions.

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What Happens To The Data In The Registry Once It Is Submitted?

Public Record:
Once verified, a summary of the information submitted to the DAQ will be available to the public through posting the information to this website. Interested parties may also contact the DAQ with any other inquiries or to request a printed copy of the information.

Certified ERCs are permanent until withdrawn by the owner or until withdrawn by the Director of the DAQ. The Director may withdraw ERCs if the emissions reduction credits:

  1. have already been used;
  2. are incorrectly calculated; or
  3. achieved are less than those claimed.

DAQ also has identified the following that may effectively reduce the actual quantity of emission credits available:

  1. Evidence of noncompliance with permit conditions imposed to make the emission reductions permanent and enforceable.
  2. Misrepresentations made in:
    1. the application submitted;
    2. any other application on which the ERC is based; or
    3. data that support an application.
  3. The State of North Carolina or U.S. EPA issues new regulations further limiting the emissions of a regulated pollutant. (For example, any state or federal statute, rule, or regulation decreases an allowable emission rate or otherwise requires a reduction in any registered pollutant, registered ERCs may need to be reduced to reflect the new, more stringent allowable emission limit or required reduction).

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