EPA Defers Deadline to Report Factors Used to Calculate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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The Environmental Protection Agency is deferring the deadline for several industries to disclose factors they used to calculate their 2010 greenhouse gas emissions.

The agency establishes two deadlines for industries to report the inputs for calculations they performed to comply with the agency's mandatory reporting rule (40 C.F.R. Part 98) while EPA continues to evaluate industry concerns about revealing potentially confidential business information. For factors EPA said can be quickly evaluated, industries will be required to report their calculation inputs by March 31, 2013. For factors that EPA said will take longer to evaluate, the deadline is March 31, 2015, the agency said in a final rule to be published in the Federal Register Aug. 25.

EPA had proposed deferring the input reporting requirements until March 31, 2014 (75 Fed. Reg. 81,350). But it now says the additional year is necessary for many of the calculation inputs because “the number of data elements that would require a more in-depth evaluation is much larger than EPA had anticipated at the time of the deferral proposal.”

Rule Sets Two Deadlines

The final rule will require electric transmission systems, stationary sources that combust fuels, underground coal mines, municipal solid waste landfills, industrial wastewater treatment, electric equipment manufacturers, and industrial waste landfills to begin reporting several emissions inputs by March 31, 2013. The various inputs include the total heat input of fuels combusted, methane emissions, the decay rate of materials stored in landfills and the type of coverings used, and volumes of wastewater treated using anaerobic processes.

The second, March 31, 2015, deadline applies to several data elements that must be reported by stationary sources that combust fuels, adipic acid production, aluminum production, ammonia manufacturing, cement production, electronics manufacturers, ferroalloy production, fluorinated gas production, glass production, HCFC-22 production and HFC-23 destruction, hydrogen production, iron and steel production, lead production, lime manufacturing, carbonate uses, nitric acid production, petroleum and natural gas systems, petrochemical production, petroleum refineries, phosphoric acid production, pulp and paper production, silicon carbide production, soda ash manufacturing, titanium dioxide production, zinc production, industrial wastewater treatment, and industrial waste landfills.

Other industries must report inputs by Sept. 30, 2011, which also is the deadline for all industries subject to the mandatory reporting rule to reveal their 2010 emissions.

Reporting Deadlines Deferred

EPA issued a final rule in October 2009 establishing economywide greenhouse gas emissions reporting for sources that emit more than 25,000 metric tons annually of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases. Those facilities had to begin measuring emissions Jan. 1, 2010 (74 Fed. Reg. 56,260).

Industries originally had until March 31 to report their 2010 emissions and calculation factors. But in March EPA extended that deadline until Sept. 30 to allow the agency time to review industry concerns that some of the inputs used to calculate their emissions would be considered confidential business information (76 Fed. Reg. 14,812; 53 DEN A-4, 3/18/11).

The agency has since determined that greenhouse gas emissions and the calculations and test methods used to measure emissions are public information and will not be treated as confidential. They are continuing to examine the factors used in calculations to determine if confidentiality is warranted (102 DEN A-2, 5/26/11).

EPA sent another proposed rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review July 13 that would define confidential business information that cannot be disclosed for eight emissions sources, including electronics manufacturing, petroleum and natural gas systems, and carbon sequestration (136 DEN A-9, 7/15/11).

By Andrew Childers

For more information, contact Carole Cook in EPA's Office of Atmospheric Programs at (202) 343-9263 or GHGReportingRule@epa.gov .

More information on EPA's greenhouse gas reporting requirements is available at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html .