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Metropolitan Chicago Regional Air
Quality and Economic Development Project


The Clean Air Act requires a new major source of emissions (such as a factory) which locates in a nonattainment area to purchase offsetting emissions. Offsetting emissions are credits created by another business that reduces its emissions. Currently, in the Chicago nonattainment area, a business must purchase 1.3 tons of offsets for each 1 ton of emissions it will generate. Under this project, businesses which locate in specially designated development zones will be given an alternative method of complying with the offset requirement. Chicago will create a "bank" of emission reduction credits through a variety of activities. Businesses locating in development zones would draw on the bank and avoid the expense of having to purchase emissions offsets elsewhere. Emission reductions will be quantified under a structure approved by the U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA. In addition to providing economic benefits for businesses, this project will help rejuvenate city neighborhoods and reduce sprawl with its associated traffic and air pollution.

Chicago will permanently retire 40% of the emissions reductions produced for the project. The remaining 60% will be available for businesses which locate in specified development zones. This project is designed to deliver superior environmental performance while allowing flexibility in satisfying regulatory "offset" requirements. Environmental benefits accrue in a number of ways.

Businesses are given flexibility to use alternative methods of complying with the offset requirement, while Chicago is given the flexibility to use the growth allowance to entice sources to have locate in development zones.

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