Becoming and remaining compliant
with changing federal and state clean air standards are challenges that many
Ohio small business owners wake up to every day. This is especially true for companies whose
primary work processes involve the release of potentially hazardous substances
into the air. Those businesses can
include dry cleaners, auto body and collision repair shops, bakeries, printers,
metal finishers and many others.
It wasn’t always this way. The federal Clean Air Act of 1970 mainly
targeted large businesses – especially manufacturers, heavy industries and
utilities – which were viewed as America’s primary air polluters. Small businesses remained exempt from air
pollution mandates until the passage of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990,
which introduced additional air pollution regulations that, for the first time,
were extended to small businesses.
Of course, finding ways to pay for
the necessary upgrades in facilities or equipment to meet clean air regulations
can be a hardship for many Ohio small businesses. What some small business owners do not know,
however is that our state government includes a program that can make a big
difference in helping small businesses undertake air quality improvement
The Clean Air Resource Center (CARC)
– a program of the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) – was created
in 1996 to provide grants and lower-cost loans to small Ohio companies that need
to purchase air quality equipment. CARC
financing packages are structured to suit the needs of individual projects and
incentivized through conduit bonds issued by OAQDA. These bonds can be federally tax-exempt or
taxable, and all are exempt from Ohio income, real property, sales and use
taxes for the term of the financing.
CARC offers grants equal to 30
percent of equipment costs. Grants are
capped at a maximum of $30,000. Specifically,
these grants help cover closing costs as well as principal payments on the
equipment after it has been installed and operational for at least six
months. Qualifying businesses must have
fewer than 100 employees, emit less than 75 tons per year of all regulated air
pollutants and emit 50 or less tons of any regulated pollutant.
Ohio small business owners want to
be compliant with clean air standards and do their part to help preserve Ohio’s
environment. I urge anyone interested in
finding out more about CARC assistance to contact OAQDA at 800-225-5051 or
614-728-3540, as well as our webpage at www.ohioairquality.org.