26.09.03.08

.08 Accreditation of Independent Verifiers.

A. Standards for Accreditation. Independent verifiers may be accredited by the Department to provide verification services as required by project sponsors if the independent verifiers meet the requirements of this regulation.

B. Verifier Minimum Requirements. Each accredited independent verifier shall demonstrate knowledge of the following topics:

(1) Utilizing engineering principles;

(2) Quantifying greenhouse gas emissions;

(3) Developing and evaluating air emissions inventories;

(4) Auditing and accounting principles;

(5) Knowledge of information management systems;

(6) Knowledge of the requirements of this chapter; and

(7) All other qualifications as may be required by the Department to provide competent verification services as required for individual offset categories.

C. Organizational Qualifications. Accredited independent verifiers shall demonstrate that they meet the following requirements:

(1) Verifiers shall have no direct or indirect financial relationship with any offset project developer or project sponsor beyond a contract for provision of verification services;

(2) Verifiers shall employ staff with professional licenses, knowledge, and experience appropriate to the specific categories of offset projects that they seek to verify;

(3) Verifiers shall hold a minimum of $1,000,000 of professional liability insurance, and if the insurance is in the name of a related entity, the verifier shall disclose the financial relationship between the verifier and the related entity and provide documentation supporting the description of the relationship; and

(4) Verifiers shall demonstrate that they have implemented an adequate management protocol to identify potential conflicts of interest with regard to an offset project, offset project developer, project sponsor, or any other party with a direct or indirect financial interest in an offset project that is seeking or has been granted approval of a consistency application and to remedy any conflicts of interest before providing verification services.

D. Prequalification of Verifiers. Prospective verifiers may be required to successfully complete a training course, workshop, or test developed or approved by the Department, before submitting an application for accreditation.

E. Application for Accreditation. An application for accreditation may not contain any proprietary information. The application shall include the following:

(1) The applicant's name, address, email address, telephone number, and facsimile transmission number;

(2) Documentation to support that the applicant has at least 2 years of experience in each of the knowledge areas;

(3) Documentation to support that the applicant has successfully completed all applicable requirements;

(4) A sample of at least one work product that provides supporting evidence that the applicant meets the following applicable requirements:

(a) The work product shall have been produced, in whole or part, by the applicant and shall consist of a final report or other material provided to a client under contract in previous work; and

(b) For a work product that was jointly produced by the applicant and another entity, the role of the applicant in the work product shall also include:

(i) Documentation that the applicant holds professional liability insurance; and

(ii) Documentation that the applicant has implemented an adequate management protocol to address and remedy any conflict of interest issues that may arise.

F. Action on Applications for Accreditation.

(1) The Department shall approve or deny a complete application for accreditation within 45 days after submission. Upon approval of an application for accreditation, the independent verifier shall be accredited for a period of 3 years from the date of application approval.

(2) Reciprocity. Independent verifiers accredited in other participating states may be deemed to be accredited at the discretion of the Department.

G. General Requirements for Accredited Verifiers.

(1) Before engaging in verification services for a project sponsor, the accredited verifier shall disclose all relevant information to the Department to allow for an evaluation of potential conflict of interest with respect to an offset project, offset project developer, or project sponsor. The accredited verifier shall disclose information concerning its ownership, past and current clients, related entities, and any other facts or circumstances that have the potential to create a conflict of interest.

(2) Accredited verifiers shall have an ongoing obligation to disclose to the Department any facts or circumstances that may give rise to a conflict of interest with respect to an offset project, offset project developer, or project sponsor.

(3) The Department may reject a verification report and certification statement from an accredited verifier submitted as part of a consistency application or submitted as part of a monitoring and verification report if the Department determines that the accredited verifier has a conflict of interest related to the offset project, offset project developer, or project sponsor.

(4) The Department may revoke the accreditation of a verifier at any time upon:

(a) Failure to fully disclose any issues that may lead to a conflict of interest situation with respect to an offset project, offset project developer, or project sponsor;

(b) The verifier is no longer qualified due to changes in staffing or other criteria;

(c) Negligence or neglect of responsibilities pursuant to the applicants requirements; and

(d) Intentional misrepresentation of data or other intentional fraud.