EPA Rules on GHG

On January 1, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will, for the first time, require large emitters of heat-trapping emissions to begin collecting greenhouse gas (GHG) data under a new reporting system. This new program will cover approximately 85 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions and apply to about 10,000 facilities.

The EPA expects the new reporting system to provide a better understanding of where GHGs are coming from, as well as, guide development of the best possible policies and programs to reduce emissions. The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities, and provide assistance in identifying cost effective ways to reduce emissions in the future. The EPA says this comprehensive, nationwide emissions data will help in the fight against climate change.

Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are produced by burning fossil fuels and through industrial and biological processes. The gases covered by the proposed rule include 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).

Fossil fuel and industrial GHG suppliers, motor vehicle and engine manufacturers, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of CO2 equivalent per year will be required to report GHG emissions data to EPA annually. This threshold is equivalent to about the annual GHG emissions from 4,600 passenger vehicles.

The first annual reports for the largest emitting facilities, covering calendar year 2010, will be submitted to the EPA in 2011. Vehicle and engine manufacturers outside of the light-duty sector will begin phasing in GHG reporting with model year 2011. Some source categories included in the proposed rule are still under review.

For more information on the new reporting system and reporting requirements, go to thisĀ EPA web page.