EPA Issues Confidentiality Determinations For 10 Industries’ Greenhouse Gas Reporting

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The Environmental Protection Agency has issued confidential business information determinations for 10 industries required to report their greenhouse gas emissions in a final rule to be published in the Federal Register Aug. 13.

The final rule requires the industries to report data on their greenhouse gas emissions, throughputs and outputs, and relevant unit and process characteristics, as well as calculation and calibration test methods. EPA determined that data on composition of materials used in production, supplier and vendor information, and process-specific vendor data are confidential and will not be publicly disclosed.

EPA is not finalizing confidentiality determinations for data elements classified as inputs into emissions equations as part of the rule.

Industries are required to report their annual greenhouse gas emissions to EPA as part of the agency's reporting program at 40 C.F.R. Part 98.

EPA made the confidentiality determinations for:

• electronics manufacturing,

• petroleum and natural gas systems,

• electricity transmission and distribution equipment,

• underground coal mines,

• industrial wastewater treatment,

• equipment pre-charged with fluorinated greenhouse gases,

• geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide,

• manufacture of electricity transmission and distribution equipment,

• industrial waste landfills, and

• injection of carbon dioxide.


The final rule will take effect Sept. 12. However, portions of the final rule that defer some data element reporting requirements will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register.

EPA Made Changes Since Proposal.

EPA has made a few changes to the reporting requirements since they were proposed. EPA did not finalize confidentiality determinations for electronics manufacturers that would disclose recipe-specific data. Additionally, EPA did not finalize six data elements for equipment pre-charged with fluorinated greenhouse gases that would reveal the date of import or export.

The agency also said it would conduct a case-by-case review of six data elements that it had proposed geologic sequestration sites report, such as total net mass of carbon dioxide received and the volumetric flow through the facility, to determine if that information should be considered confidential. Underground injection sites will also not be required to publicly disclose the quantity of carbon dioxide received.

EPA issued three separate confidentiality determination proposals in January and February (77 Fed. Reg. 1434; 77 Fed. Reg. 10,434; 77 Fed. Reg. 11039; 06 DEN A-1, 1/11/12; 34 DEN A-3, 2/22/12; 36 DEN A-1, 2/24/12).

Some Reporting Requirements Deferred.

EPA's final rule also defers the requirement for petroleum and natural gas systems, underground coal mines, and industrial waste landfills to report certain data elements they use to determine their greenhouse gas emissions. EPA said the deferral will give it more time to determine whether publicly disclosing that information could cause competitive harm to the industries.

The final rule defers until March 31, 2015, the requirement for oil and natural gas companies to report 10 inputs used to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions. The inputs include the annual amount of carbon dioxide recovered by acid gas removal units and transferred outside the facility, greenhouse gas emissions from wellhead gas-liquid separators with oil throughput greater than or equal to 10 barrels per day, and emissions from wells with oil production greater than or equal to 10 barrels per day.

The final rule also defers the requirement for industrial waste landfills to report the methane correction factor used in their greenhouse gas emissions and for underground coal mines to report the moisture content and gaseous organic concentration correction factor used in their emissions calculations until March 31, 2013.

By Andrew Childers  

More information on the greenhouse gas reporting rule is available by contacting Carole Cook in EPA's Office of Atmospheric Programs at (202) 343-9263 or GHGReportingRule@epa.gov.

More information on the reporting requirements and confidential business information determinations is available at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/CBI.html.