EPA’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule Becomes Effective Today, December 29, 2009

Effective December 29, 2009, the EPA has promulgated a regulation to require reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy. The final rule applies to fossil fuel suppliers and industrial gas suppliers, direct greenhouse gas emitters and manufacturers of heavy-duty and off-road vehicles and engines. The rule does not require control of greenhouse gases, rather it requires only that sources above certain threshold levels monitor and report emissions. The first report will be for calendar year (CY) 2010 emissions, and will be due March 31, 2011. The gases covered by the rule are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE).

Temporarily suspended from some reporting requirements are the following:

Electronics manufacturing
Ethanol production
Fluorinated GHG production
Food processing
Magnesium production
Oil and natural gas systems
SF6 from electrical equipment
Underground coal mines
Industrial landfills
Wastewater treatment
Suppliers of coal

Note that the coverage of these industries is only subject to further review and comment at this time and that the regulations covering those industries has been drafted. Also, some activities by those industries can still be covered. As an example, stationary fuel combustion sources at ethanol production facilities are subject to the requirements of the rule if those emissions exceed the 25,000 metric tons CO2e threshold. As noted by the IDNR, “ethanol production facilities are required to report fossil fuel GHG emissions, as required by §98 Subpart C – General Stationary Fossil Fuel Combustion, if their fossil fuel GHG emissions exceed the 25,000 mtCO2e threshold. Ethanol producers are not required to report GHG emissions from fermentation processes.”

What has not been determined is how GHG emissions can be divided between the fermentation process and fossil fuel emissions when both processes share a common technological control or reduction, such as a CO2 scrubber. Ethanol plants will need to coordinate with their air compliance engineer to determine how this is to be determined or whether the emissions share any control technology. This is reportedly not an issue for some of the standard designs, which only have the CO2 scrubber attached to vents from the fermentation process.

Resources:

40 CFR Parts 86, 87, 89 et al. Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases; Final Rule – pdf version

40 CFR Parts 86, 87, 89 et al. Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases; Final Rule – html version

EPA’s Frequently Asked Questions: Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) EPA Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule by Iowa Department of Natural Resources

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About James Pray

Attorney with BrownWinick Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa.
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