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Air Quality Program

Clean Air Rule

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Washington’s water supply, air quality, and infrastructure are at risk because of climate change. Ecology adopted a rule under our state’s Clean Air Act to reduce carbon pollution to do our part to help slow climate change. The Clean Air Rule regulates the businesses who are responsible for about two-thirds of carbon pollution in Washington, such as transportation, refining, and manufacturing.

Official rule documents

Determining which cap and trade programs to approve for allowances

We are seeking input to help us decide which cap and trade program to approve as a source of allowances for the Clean Air Rule.

Businesses covered by the rule are given several ways to comply. One way to comply is to obtain allowances that come from an approved cap and trade program outside of Washington state. The rule requires that we determine which cap and trade programs to approve based on three criteria:

  1. Allowances are issued by an established multi-sector greenhouse gas emission reduction program.
  2. Covered parties in the Clean Air Rule are able to purchase allowances within the cap and trade program.
  3. The allowances are derived from methodologies congruent with those used in Washington’s greenhouse gas reporting program.

During the spring we gathered input through a survey to help us decide which cap and trade programs to consider. We are currently reviewing the feedback we received and using it to create a draft list of cap and trade programs, We will share the draft list for public comments this summer. The official list of cap and trade programs eligible to serve as a source of allowanced will be released before the end of 2017.

If you have questions please contact Bill Drumheller, at (360) 407-7657.

Who is covered under the Clean Air Rule?

In 2017 organizations that are responsible for 100,000 metric tons of carbon pollution annually are required to cap and gradually reduce their emissions. Every three years, the threshold is lowered by 5,000 metric tons and more emitters are brought into the program. By 2035 the threshold will reach 70,000 metric tons where it will remain.

Businesses categorized as energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries and fuel importers begin participating in the program in 2020.

The types of organizations covered by the rule include:

  • Natural gas distributors
  • Petroleum product producers, i.e. refineries, and importers
  • Metal, cement, pulp and paper, and glass manufacturers
  • Power plants
  • Waste facilities

List of potential Washington regulated businesses

Clean Air Rule

Report your greenhouse gas emissions and emission reduction units. View verification requirements and find a verifier.


Energy-Intensive, Trade-Exposed Businesses (EITEs)

Find guidance for energy-intensive, trade-exposed businesses to comply with the Clean Air Rule.


Meeting Clean Air Rule Requirements

Learn how organizations can reduce their emissions and get emission reduction units.



Read about the Clean Air Rule's economic impact, how the rule accommodates business growth and the Environmental Justice Committee.

Video gallery

Reducing pollution

Rule update

Director Bellon's address

Preserving Puget Sound

Seeking feedback

Who's covered?


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