EPA Proposes Less Detailed Reporting On Fluorinated Gas Producer Emissions

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By Andrew Childers  

Nov. 18 --Fluorinated gas producers would be required to provide the Environmental Protection Agency with less detailed greenhouse gas information beginning in calendar year 2015 as part of an agency proposed rule.

The EPA said the less detailed reporting requirements respond to industry concerns that the information they are currently required to submit to the agency as part of the mandatory greenhouse gas reporting program could reveal confidential business information, according to the proposed rule to be published in the Federal Register Nov. 19.

The proposed rule would require fluorinated gas producers to report greenhouse gas emissions by chemical at the facility-level when emitted quantities exceed 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent and the facility produces more than one fluorinated gas. Facilities that produce only one fluorinated gas would also be required to report their emissions when the product is sold or transferred to another person.

Greenhouse gas emissions from venting of residual fluorinated GHGs from containers and destruction of previously produced fluorinated greenhouse gases would continue to be reported by chemical and by process as currently required.

Additionally, the proposed rule would require fluorinated gas producers to report, as a range, the level of emissions control for each process rather than report process-specific emission factors, activity data and destruction efficiencies. The proposal would also eliminate the requirement for fluorinated gas producers to report the contents, locations, and functions of the streams analyzed under the scoping speciation.

Warming Potentials Revised

The proposed rule also would update the global warming potentials for various fluorinated gases that producers will use to report their emissions to better represent climate impact, the EPA said. The EPA is proposing that fully fluorinated greenhouse gases would have global warming potential of 10,000 over a 100-year period, meaning it is 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Saturated hydrofluorocarbons would have a global warming potential of 2,200. Saturated hydrofluoroethers and saturated hydrochlorofluoroethers would have a global warming potential of 1,600. Unsaturated perfluorocarbons, unsaturated hydrofluorocarbonss, unsaturated hydrochlorofluorocarbons, unsaturated hydrofluoroethers and fluorinated ketones would have a global warming potential of 1. Other fluorinated compounds would have a global warming potential of 100.

The proposed rule would also remove the option for fluorinated gas producers to calculate their emissions using a mass-balance approach, which is something the EPA said no facilities are currently using.

Industry Raised Concerns

The EPA proposed the greenhouse gas emissions reporting requirements for fluorinated greenhouse gas production at 40 C.F.R. pt. 98 Subpart L in January 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 1434). In comments to the agency, both the American Chemistry Council and 3M Co. raised concerns that publicly disclosing some of the data sought by the EPA could disclose confidential business information and potentially violate export control regulations.

The EPA in August 2012 issued requirements for less detailed reporting from industry while it responded to the concerns about confidentiality. That rule only required fluorinated gas producers to report their total emissions to the EPA (77 Fed. Reg. 51,477; 164 DER A-15, 8/24/12).

The EPA will accept comments on the proposed rule until Jan. 21. Comment can be made at http://www.regulations.gov and should reference Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0927.


To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Childers in Washington at achilders@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl in Washington at lpearl@bna.com

The EPA's proposed rule is available at https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2013-27288.pdf.

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