(Sept. 23, 2019) On July 26, 2019, the president of the Russian Federation signed into law a bill aimed at setting temporary quotas for pollutant emissions. The Federal Law on Conducting an Experiment Concerning the Setting of Quotas for Emissions of Pollutants and Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation on Reducing Air Pollution (Emissions Quota Law) envisages setting quotas for emissions of atmospheric pollutants in 12 major urban industrial areas of Russia. The quotas established are to be based on aggregate calculations on permissible pollutants. The Law is to take effect on January 1, 2020, and remain in force until December 31, 2024.
The government drafted the Law with the aim of reducing by at least 20% in the most polluted areas the amount of harmful pollutants in the air in the territories covered in the experiment. The experiment is to be conducted in accordance with a comprehensive plan (including targets, a road map of measures to reduce emissions from the source, and a financing mechanism) submitted by the head of the state executive body of each constituent component of the Russian Federation and approved by the government of the Russian Federation. The highest executive-body official of each constituent component of the Russian Federation will bear personal responsibility for the implementation of the comprehensive plan and meeting established targets. (Emissions Quota Law arts. 2, §§ 1, 2; art. 3.)
The Law establishes two structures for the implementation of the experiment:
- A federal information system for air quality monitoring, which will provide information and knowledge-management assistance during the Law’s implementation to various government officials, regulated entities, and the public regarding the territories where the experiment is being conducted. The federal government must also establish the conditions under which this system will operate, including protocols for information exchange and the types of information to be included in the system. (Art. 2, § 5; art. 4, §§ 1, 2.)
- An interdepartmental council composed of various federal and state bodies under the auspices of the federal environmental-protection regulatory and policy-making body (Rosprirodnadzor) will coordinate efforts between various government agencies involved in the implementation of the Law. (Art. 2, § 8.)
Authority of Government Bodies
The implementation of the quota-setting experiment is to be divided between the federal government, federal regulatory bodies, and the state executive bodies of the constituent components of the Russian Federation.
The Emissions Quota Law mandates that the government review the report on the results of the experiment together with proposed amendments to legislation submitted by Rosprirodnadzor. Rosprirodnaszor is to provide methodological support for the experiment, including approval of the rules for setting quotas; provide regular reporting; and carry out overall supervision of the experiment.
The federal executive body overseeing the quality of atmospheric air (Rosgidromet) is to perform the aggregate calculations, establish emission quotas (including setting permissible limits of each pollutant’s concentration), and inform the regulated entities of the requirements, as discussed below. This body is also required to submit annual progress reports to Rosprirodnadzor on the status of the experiment.
The federal executive body of state sanitary and epidemiological surveillance (Rospotrebnadzor) is to monitor the public health situation in the territories covered in the experiment, determine the list of priority pollutants, and participate in drawing up the list of regulated entities. (Art. 4.)
The state executive body of each constituent component of the Russian Federation is to determine the responsible body for implementing the experiment, take part in performing the aggregate calculations to determine the emission quotas for each territory covered in the experiment and in drawing up the a list of regulated entities, and establish compensation measures. The state executive body of each constituent component is also required to submit to Rosgidromet an annual report on the implementation of comprehensive plan. (Arts. 4 & 5.)
Setting the Quotas
The quotas are to be set on the basis of the conclusion of the aggregate calculations, which must include a brief description of each territory covered in the experiment, a list of pollutants and emission sources, and proposals for allowable limits on emissions. The selection of pollutants included in the quota list is to be based on their impact on the atmosphere. The quotas are then determined on the basis of the rules set forth by Rosprirodnazor. Once the quotas are set, the state executive body of each constituent component of the Russian Federation, within a three-month period, is to amend the comprehensive plans accordingly. (Art. 5.)
The Emissions Quota Law obligates regulated entities to submit plans aimed at reducing emissions and meeting the quotas for permissible emissions within three months from the date the quotas are set. Should a regulated entity miss the targets for the determined period, it should provide for compensation measures, which are to be implemented independently by the regulated entity. The regulated entity can also pay for the implementation of compensation measures. The Law also mandates that regulated entities provide full access to their facilities to representatives of Rosgidromet. (Arts. 5, 6.)
Earlier in 2019 the Russian government had introduced a bill regulating greenhouse emissions and absorptions, which envisaged broader economic mechanisms for quotas and cap and trades, as well as tax incentives for regulated entities. The Emissions Quota Law does not include comprehensive economic regulation of air pollutants.