About The Washington Offset Program
ACR was approved as an Offset Project Registry (OPR) for the Washington State Cap-and-Invest program in 2023.
In this role, we support the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) in the implementation of its offset program. This includes overseeing the listing and verification of offset projects and the issuance of serialized Registry Offset Credits (ROCs) that can be converted to Ecology Offset Credits and used by covered entities towards meeting their emission reductions obligations in Washington’s cap-and-invest program.
About Compliance Offset Projects
All offset projects must be developed according to Ecology approved Compliance Offset Protocols, the requirements for compliance offset protocols, and the requirements for an offset project.
Offset Project Operators must list their offset projects with an approved Offset Project Registry such as ACR and be verified by an Ecology accredited verifier to be eligible for ROCs and Ecology offset credits.
Ecology has approved four Compliance Offset Protocols from California’s program with Ecology-specific requirements. The Ecology adopted Compliance Offset Protocols and related documents for each are available for download from. The four protocols adopted from the California program are:
- U.S. Forestry
- Urban Forestry
- Livestock Projects
- Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS)
Use the current versions of all ARB Forms for offset projects developed using ARB compliance offset protocols.
All Offset Project Operators must have an account on Washington State’s Compliance Information Tracking System Service (CITSS). To protect CITSS account information, please make sure to submit a CITSS ID number and not a CITSS account number on all required forms. The CITSS ID number is two letters followed by four numbers (e.g. WA1234).
The Climate Commitment Act requires independent verification of all GHG emission reductions and removal enhancements issued as ROCs and converted to Ecology Offset Credits for use by covered entities.
The Climate Commitment Act includes requirements that offset verification bodies and offset verifiers must meet to be accredited by Ecology to conduct offset verification services.
An Offset Project Operator or Authorized Project Designee must obtain the services of an Ecology-approved verification body to perform offset verification services.
To conduct offset verification services, offset verification bodies and offset verifiers need to submit information prior to and during verification activities. Before offset verification services may begin the verification body must submit information for a Notice of Offset Verification Services (NOVS) to Ecology and the applicable Offset Project Registry with which the project is listed.
In addition, the verification body must submit information for a Conflict of Interest (COI) self-evaluation to the Offset Project Operator, Authorized Project Designee, if applicable, Ecology, and the applicable Offset Project Registry with which the project is listed. The Offset Project Registry must review and approve the conflict-of-interest self-evaluation.
The verification body must submit an Offset Verification Statement to the applicable Offset Project Registry with which the project is listed.
Current versions of all required verification forms are available from Ecology’s cap-and-invest offsets webpage.
Ecology’s main webpage for the cap-and-invest offset program contains program-related.
How are offsets used in Washington’s program versus in California?
Generally speaking, the Washington offset program mirrors the California Air Resources Board’s program, especially for how they register, verify, and monitor offset projects. However, there are some important differences as outlined on Ecology’s cap-and-invest offsets webpage, including:
- Washington’s program requires that all offset projects provide direct environmental benefits to the state, while California only requires that 50% of the offset credits used to cover business emissions come from projects that provide direct environmental benefits.
- Offset credits in Washington are “under the cap,” meaning we reduce the number of allowances we issue by the number of offset credits used, keeping us on track to meet our statutory commitment to reduce emissions by 95% by 2050.
- Washington has the ability to reduce the number of offset credits that can be used by a business if we determine that it contributes substantially to air pollution in an overburdened community.
Direct Environmental Benefits and No Significant Adverse Environmental Impact
All offsets used for compliance in Washington’s cap-and-invest program must demonstrate direct environmental benefits to the state. For more information, please see WAC 173-446-595.
An offset project must not produce significant adverse environmental impacts after mitigation. For more information, please see WAC 173-446-500.
The Offset Project Operator or Authorized Project Designee, if applicable, must submit an Application for Direct Environmental Benefits Status and Demonstration of No Significant Adverse Environmental Impacts and the required supporting documentation to Ecology at CCAOffsets@ecy.wa.gov.
Tribal Offset Projects
Offset projects on tribal lands are developed in the same way as non-tribal projects: they must be listed with an approved offset-project registry, follow one of the four adopted offset protocols, and be verified by an approved third party.
Washington offers a Tribal Carbon Offset Assistance Grant program to help federally recognized tribes in Washington assess the feasibility of a carbon-offset project.
Read our Orientation Guide (coming soon) to learn more about the process of listing Washington Compliance Offset Projects with ACR and being issued Registry Offset Credits and Ecology Offset Credits for the Washington cap-and-invest program.