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EPA Proposes National Emissions Reports

Approximately 13,000 facilities, including a wide range of energy industry facilities, would be affected by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to require the nation's major producers of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG) to quantify and report their emissions, the EPA said.

The new reporting requirements would apply to suppliers of fossil fuels and industrial chemicals and manufacturers of motor vehicles and engines, as well as large direct emitters of GHG with emissions of at least 25,000 metric tons per year. The emissions data would be used to inform future policy decisions, EPA said.

"Our efforts to confront climate change must be guided by the best possible information," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. "Through this new reporting, we will have comprehensive and accurate data about the production of greenhouse gases."

Suppliers of natural gas and natural gas liquids, coal, coal-based products, coal-based liquid fuels and petroleum, petroleum refineries, manufacturers of coal products, and fossil-fuel fired electric generating units, as well as extractors of natural gas and crude petroleum would all be affected by the regulation. Natural gas and oil systems, including natural gas pipelines and distribution facilities, would also be affected. Along with other government and industrial facilities covered by the proposal, 85-90% of the GHG emitted in the United States would be reported, EPA said.

The first annual report would be submitted to EPA in 2011 for calendar year 2010. EPA estimates that the cost to the private sector of complying with the reporting requirements would be $160 million for the first year. In subsequent years, annualized costs would be $127 million, EPA said.

The gases covered by the proposed rule are CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride and hydrofluorinated ethers.

While the proposed rule would not impose emissions reductions, its implications are far-reaching, according to Cambridge Energy Research Associates' Robert LaCount.

"Industries will need to prepare for comprehensive GHG reporting requirements, reevaluate current climate change strategies and assess the implications of a federal GHG cap that may now go forward on an accelerated schedule," LaCount said.

The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Public hearings are scheduled to be held April 6 and 7 in Arlington, VA, and April 16 in Sacramento, CA.

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