Alternative GHG Reporting Approaches May Be On The Horizon
Posted: September 16th, 2013Author: All4 Staff
Those of you within the community of facilities reporting under 40 CFR Part 98 (Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule) may recall a twist to the most recent reporting season in which you were required to resurrect historic data from years 2010 and 2011 and report it to U.S. EPA as part of your 2013 reporting effort. This was required if you reported under any of the following subparts:
- C (Stationary Fuel Combustion)
- D (Electricity Generation)
- DD (SF6 from Electric Equipment Use)
- FF (Underground Coal Mines)
- HH (Municipal Landfills)
- II (Industrial Wastewater Treatment)
- SS (Electric T&D Equipment Manufacturing)
- TT (Industrial Waste Landfills)
This unique request by U.S. EPA stemmed from U.S. EPA’s August 2011 deferral of certain inputs to equations until either March 31, 2013 or March 31, 2015. The deadline varied per input to equation, and took effect in order to afford U.S. EPA the time it needed to fully evaluate the potential impact of releasing Confidential Business Information (CBI) to the public.
When U.S. EPA completed their evaluation of the first set of equation inputs and determined that they did not constitute CBI, facilities reporting under the subparts above were asked to report certain inputs to equations that were associated with 2010 and 2011 during 2013. It wasn’t tricky to fulfill their request since it had been a recordkeeping requirement all along to maintain these inputs, but it wasn’t pleasant either. Just because U.S. EPA isn’t concerned about the impact of releasing these inputs to the public doesn’t mean things are this comfortable at the facility-level.
On September 11, 2013, in an effort to soothe reporters’ concerns over those inputs still constituting CBI, U.S. EPA proposed alternative methods for reporters to comply with 40 CFR Part 98 which would still allow U.S. EPA to validate the information submitted. The approach essentially involves a reporter entering the requested data elements into an electronic tool that will both calculate emissions and provide verification of them. As proposed, the tool doesn’t retain the data that the reporter enters but it would nonetheless allow U.S. EPA the ability to review a verification summary confirming whether the facility’s reported emissions data varies from the emissions expected by the tool.
Before you get too excited about your future privacy, note that the alternative method is only proposed to affect those elements that U.S. EPA ultimately decides are CBI. If they determine they have no CBI concerns about a given reporting element, then that element would still need to be publicly reported to e-GGRT following the close of its applicable deferral period. The proposed alternative method affects 26 specific data reporting elements within the following 24 subparts of 40 CFR Part 98:
- C (General Stationary Fuel Combustion except Specified Stationary Fuel Combustion Sources Connected to Certain Electric Generators that are Connected and Able to Deliver Power to the Local or Regional Electric Power Grid)
- E (Adipic Acid Production)
- F (Aluminum Production)
- G (Ammonia Manufacturing)
- H (Cement Production)
- K (Ferroalloy Production)
- L (Fluorinated Gas Production)
- N (Glass Production)
- O (HCFC–22 Production and HFC–23 Destruction)
- P (Hydrogen Production)
- Q (Iron and Steel Production)
- R (Lead Production)
- S (Lime Manufacturing)
- U (Miscellaneous Uses of Carbonate)
- X (Petrochemical Production)
- V (Nitric Acid Production)
- Y (Petroleum Refineries)
- Z (Phosphoric Acid Production)
- AA (Pulp and Paper Manufacturing)
- BB (Silicon Carbide Production)
- CC (Soda Ash Manufacturing)
- EE (Titanium Dioxide Production)
- GG (Zinc Production)
- TT (Industrial Waste Landfills)
If you are part of the petroleum and natural gas industry, you were probably quick to note that Subpart W was not listed above. As proposed, Subpart W reporters would not be allowed to use the alternative methods and instead would have to report all required data publicly after March 31, 2015. U.S. EPA’s rationale for this exclusion relates to their belief that the information submitted is either already protected due to the level of geographical aggregation that the information is reported at or because the submitted data, if released, would not create a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace.
Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted by U.S. EPA through November 12, 2013. A public hearing will be conducted if requested by September 18, 2013.