EPA proposes GHG reporting program

By Kris Bevill | March 05, 2009
Web exclusive posted March 13, 2009, at 2:02 p.m. CST

A proposal recently released by the U.S. EPA could serve as the basis for future government climate policies including emissions standards, economic incentives and a carbon tax and/or cap-and-trade program. The proposed comprehensive national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting system would affect approximately 13,000 facilities, including extractors of crude petroleum and natural gas, coal and oil refineries, ethanol production facilities, industrial landfills, wastewater treatment plants and any other facility which emits more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the reporting system would be a "critical step" in helping to protect the country's environment. A mandatory reporting system would allow the EPA to gain accurate and timely information on GHG emissions and a better understanding of the relative emissions of specific industries, the agency said.

Under the EPA's proposal, emitters would be required to begin collecting data on Jan. 1, 2010. The first emissions report would be due on March 31, 2011, for emissions during calendar year 2010. At that time, reporters would need to present total annual GHG emissions as an aggregate as well as separate emissions data for each source and supply category identified by the EPA. In addition, certain activity data, including fuel use and feedstock inputs, used to generate the emissions information would need to be reported.

The agency said emitters would not be required to report emissions from land-use changes associated with deforestation or from carbon storage in living biomass or harvested wood products. The EPA's proposal stated that methods to collect emissions data from those sources "can be difficult to implement and can yield uncertain results."

The EPA estimates private sector costs for the first year of the program at $160 million. The agency's proposal will be published in the Federal Register, after which it will be open for public comment for 60 days. Public hearings will be held in Washington, D.C., and California.

For more information on the proposed GHG reporting rule visit www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html.