The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comments on industry claims that the reporting of data elements for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could compromise their proprietary business information.

In July the agency proposed that information to be included in emissions equations would be "emissions data," and cannot be protected as confidential information under the Clean Air Act (CAA). As a result, the EPA said it would have to make the data available to the public once they were submitted to the agency.

In its latest action the agency is soliciting comments on stakeholders' claims of business sensitivity regarding inputs to emissions equations and is proposing to defer the deadline for reporting that data for calendar years 2010, 2011 and 2012 until March 2014. The public has 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register (FR) to submit comments on the proposed deferral, or 45 days if a hearing is requested, according to the EPA.

The EPA also issued an interim rule to defer reporting of data elements that are inputs to emission equations for 2010 until Aug. 31, 2011. This interim final rule takes effect upon publication in the FR, and does not defer the reporting date for any other Part 98 data elements, the agency said.

And lastly the EPA issued a call for information on the types of data elements that could cause competitive harm, and whether any of these data elements already are available to the public. The public has 60 days from the date of publication in the FR to submit comments.

The EPA's GHG reporting program, launched in October 2009, requires the reporting of GHG emissions data from large emission sources and fuel suppliers across a range of industry sectors, including oil, natural gas and power.

The rule would allow for the regulation of GHG emissions from large emitters under the New Source Review provisions of the CAA. Large industrial facilities -- including power plants, refineries and factories -- that emit at least 25,000 tons of GHG per year would be required to obtain construction and operating permits covering these emissions (see Daily GPI, Oct. 1, 2009).

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