Large GHG Emitters Must Collect Data on Jan. 1

In just three-and-a-half months, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will require large emitters of heat-trapping emissions to begin collecting greenhouse gas (GHG) data for reporting in 2011 under a new program.

The program under the Final Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule will apply to roughly 10,000 facilities and cover approximately 85 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions.

The gases covered by the rule are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride and hydrofluorinated ethers. The reporting threshold is 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. To see a table listing examples of affected entities, click here.

“This is a major step forward in our effort to address the greenhouse gases polluting our skies,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The American public, and industry itself, will finally gain critically important knowledge and with this information we can determine how best to reduce those emissions.”

EPA’s new reporting system will guide development of the best possible policies and programs to reduce emissions. The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions and compare them to similar facilities.

The first annual reports for the largest emitting facilities, covering calendar year 2010, will be submitted to EPA in 2011. Vehicle and engine manufacturers outside of the light-duty sector will begin phasing in GHG reporting with model year 2011. Some source categories included in the proposed rule are still under review.

“The public has both a need and a right to know about the country’s biggest emitters,” said Mark MacLeod, director of special projects at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “The transparency provided today will inform smart policy that targets the biggest sources of heat-trapping emissions.”

EDF noted that 41 states currently participate in The Climate Registry, a nationwide collaboration on the development and implementation of mandatory and voluntary greenhouse gas reporting. These state programs provide the framework to inform well-designed national policy. The Climate Registry also has more than 300 members that have voluntarily committed to measure, verify, and publicly report GHGs.

In addition, since 1995, fossil-fuel fired power plants over 25 megawatts in size have been subject to mandatory CO2 reporting requirements for under the Clean Air Act.

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