To further lower air pollutant emissions during periods of poor air quality, on 30 June 2023 the EPA announced the amended control fee rates for air pollution emissions from stationary sources, which took effect on 1 July 2023. The amendments include widening the gap in seasonal fee rates, revising the calculation method for flare stack fees, adjusting the fees for dioxins, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and initiating collection of new air pollution fees for three VOCs. The purpose is to increase benefits from reducing both conventional and harmful air pollutants through enhanced economic incentives, which are expected to cut approximately another 9,000 metric tons of air pollutants annually.
Focuses of amendments to the control fee rates for air pollution from stationary sources are as follows:
1. Expanding seasonal fee rate differentiation and reducing incentives
The revisions have raised the first and fourth-quarter fees for periods of poor air quality as well as incentives for air pollution reduction efforts. This aims to reduce air pollutant emissions through economic incentives, encouraging enterprises and public and private premises to adjust production capacity or enhance proper operation of pollution control equipment during periods of poor air quality.
2. Facilitating enterprises to voluntarily reduce use of flare stacks
Under the revisions, fee rates and calculation methods for flare stacks have been adjusted and further integrated into the control standards for VOC emissions. Air pollution control fees regarding flare stacks are now calculated based on factors such as the annual cumulative times of usage, operating hours, and exhaust gas flows, urging enterprises to actively cut use of flare stacks.
3. Adjusting and adding rates for emissions of hazardous air pollutants
Based on the concept of risk to health, the amendments have adjusted rates for dioxins, heavy metals, and harmful VOCs and introduced new air pollution fees for three harmful VOCs, namely vinyl chloride, 1,3-butadiene, and acrylonitrile. These measures aim to encourage enterprises to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants.
The EPA stated that this fee revision primarily impacts industries involved in producing electricity, steel, petrochemicals, cement, panel manufacturing, and others. It is hoped that while pursuing economic development, these industries will take greater responsibility to reduce air pollution. Through economic incentives, the revisions strive to push enterprises to lower air pollution emissions and expenditures on air pollution control fees by using measures such as proactively adjusting production capacity, installing pollution control equipment and enhancing facility efficiency during periods of poor air quality.
The EPA further explained that, when announcing the draft revisions to the fee rates on 1 February 2023, it had initially planned to introduce new emission categories and rates for high-emission entities. The formulation process originally relied on emission data analysis from 2015 to 2019. However, the EPA later considered that proactive implementation of air pollution control measures in recent years had resulted in an approximate 30% drop in stationary-source pollution emissions in 2021 in comparison with those in 2016. This shows a disparity exists between the level of originally planned emission categories for high-emission entities and their actual emissions in recent years. This is due to accumulative, overall efforts to tighten and evaluate over 110 sets of regulations since the amended Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法) was promulgated on 1 August 2018. Therefore, the EPA reanalyzed the threshold for categories of high-emission entities based on the latest data.
The EPA reminded enterprises that the regulations mentioned above will take effect as of October 2023, during which public and private premises declare their control fees for air pollutants from stationary sources for the third quarter of 2023 (July to September 2023). More detailed information concerning fee rates are available on the EPA website at (https://oaout.epa.gov.tw/law/index.aspx).
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, June 2023
- Ministry of Environment