4 The record articles

Combined Air Emissions Reporting: Coming to a State Near You!

Posted: April 2nd, 2020

Authors: Caleb F. 

Imagine a world in which all your annual reporting requirements can be fulfilled using just one form. Although this may seem like a far-fetched dream, it may be closer to reality than you think. Under the E-Enterprise Initiative, U.S. EPA has been developing the Combined Air Emissions Reporting (CAER) “Common Emissions Form” (CEF), an online software system that will allow facilities to report air emissions for multiple programs through a single portal. Currently, affected facilities submit emissions data through multiple portals, such as Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface (CEDRI) and the U.S. EPA electronic Greenhouse Gas Reporting Tool (e-GGRT).  Multiple online reporting systems can require common “overlapping” information thereby creating opportunity for inconsistency. The CEF is the first step toward combined emissions reporting and will enable facilities to report air emissions to the National Emissions Inventory (NEI) and the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) from a single portal.

Georgia has been chosen as the first pilot state for the CEF, and the Georgia Air Protection Branch has been working closely with U.S. EPA throughout its development. Several pilot facilities from a variety of industries in Georgia have already participated in testing the CEF and providing valuable feedback on the reporting experience. In addition to several webinars demonstrating the CEF, the Georgia Air Protection Branch has held a combined meeting with U.S. EPA to collect feedback from facilities across Georgia and review what information and reporting provisions the CEF would include. Most recently, U.S. EPA and the Georgia Air Protection Branch hosted training webinars at the end of March to walk Georgia facilities through the CAER system and officially announce the use of the CEF for Reporting Year 2019 (RY2019).

The CEF is currently planned to be opened to affected Georgia facilities subject to emissions reporting requirements on April 7th, 2020 for RY2019. The CEF will replace the current Georgia Environmental Connections Online (GECO) Emissions Inventory data collection system for annual emissions reporting. The Georgia Air Protection Branch is handling initial user registration for affected facilities. If your facility has multiple users involved with annual emissions reporting, it is recommended to reach out directly to the Georgia Air Protection Branch for assistance. Users of the CEF will also have the option to pull in the submitted RY2019 air emissions to the air emissions sections of the RY2019 TRI via TRI-meWEB.  However, U.S. EPA has made it clear that users will be able to choose whether to import air emissions data to TRI-meWEB and can revise the air emissions data once imported.

So, what does this mean for your facility? Although Georgia facilities will be the only ones directly impacted for RY2019 reporting, CAER will be expanded into more states and more reports as soon as RY2020. One of the driving principles of CAER is promoting data consistency between reports, which will in turn increase the efficiency and accuracy of each required report.  It is recommended that facilities prepare for the CAER system by consolidating their air emissions calculations for their different reporting obligations. If you have any questions about the CAER system, the CEF, or how your facility will be impacted, please reach out to me at cfetner@all4inc.com, or at 678-460-0324 ext. 222.

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