Proposed EPA Rule Mandates National Reporting of GHG Emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday proposed the first rule that mandates reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large sources in the U.S.—including electricity-generating facilities.

The 593-page rule (which follows a 818-page preamble, PDF) proposes that suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions submit annual reports to the EPA. The first annual report would be submitted to the EPA in 2011 for the calendar year 2010, except for vehicle and engine manufacturers, which would begin reporting for model year 2011.

The gases covered by the proposed rule are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE).

Approximately 13,000 facilities, accounting for about 85% to 90% of greenhouse gases emitted in the U.S., would be covered under the proposal. The EPA estimates that the expected private sector cost for complying with the reporting requirements would be $160 million for the first year. In subsequent years, annualized costs for the private sector would be $127 million.

Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, the EPA said it developed the reporting requirements having considered the “substantial amount of work already completed and underway in many states, regions, and voluntary programs.”

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that the rule would help collect accurate and comprehensive emissions data to inform future policy decisions. “Our efforts to confront climate change must be guided by the best possible information,” she said. “Through this new reporting, we will have comprehensive and accurate data about the production of greenhouse gases. This is a critical step toward helping us better protect our health and environment —all without placing an onerous burden on our nation’s small businesses.”

Jackson signed the rule on March 10, and it will now be published in the Federal Register. Following publication, a public comment period will be open for 60 days. Two public hearings will be held during the comment period.

Source: EPA

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