Washington Starts Work on GHG Reporting Rule

The Washington Department of Ecology is developing a system for the state's large sources of greenhouse gases (GHG) to report their climate-changing emissions, according to an Aug. 5 press release.

Under House Bill 2815, Gov. Chris Gregoire and the 2008 Legislature required the owners of large fleets of vehicles and large stationary sources of greenhouse gases to begin reporting their emissions in 2010. Lawmakers directed the state environmental agency to adopt rules to develop and implement an emissions reporting system.

"Reporting is a key to understanding the amount of greenhouse gases released by Washington sources. With accurate, reliable data and our help, sources can identify the best ways to lower their emissions. We can't reduce what we don't track," said Stu Clark, Ecology's Air Quality Program manager.

The rules will apply to owners or operators of:

•A fleet of on-road motor vehicles that emits at least 2,500 metric tons of greenhouse gases a year in Washington. The state's largest motor vehicle fleets will meet this threshold. They include trucking and delivery fleets, rental car companies, large customer service fleets (such as phone, cable or power companies), and large government-agency fleets.

•A source or combination of sources that emits at least 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases a year in the state. Washington's largest factories and power facilities will meet this threshold. They include refineries, pulp and paper mills, cement kilns, some lumber mills, large food processors, and some entities that use fossil fuels to generate power, steam, heat or cooling.

Ecology is putting together a stakeholder group to review the proposed rule. Group members will represent private and government fleets; power producers; manufacturers; pulp, paper and lumber mills; the environmental community, and other affected entities. They will start meeting in mid- to late August and continue through January 2009.

The agency expects to issue a draft rule for public comment in spring 2009 and hold public hearings. The final rule should be adopted in summer 2009. Documents related to the proposed rule will be posted at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/activity/wac173441.html.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to publish a draft greenhouse gas reporting rule in September 2008. Ecology will review EPA's draft rule language as work continues on the state rule.

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