4 The record articles

EPA Proposes Changes to Air Emissions Reporting Requirements

Posted: August 17th, 2023

Authors: Amy M. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed changes to its Air Emissions Reporting Requirements (AERR) rule. Under the current AERR rule, state, local, and some tribal agencies are required to report criteria air pollutant (CAP) emissions across various sectors and source types to U.S. EPA. Broadly speaking, these proposed changes would require thousands of facilities to report detailed information on their hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions to either their local agency or directly to the U.S. EPA on an annual basis.  If finalized, these changes will increase the frequency of emissions reporting for many facilities (either to the state or directly to U.S. EPA),  will increase the type and amount of information reported annually for all covered facilities, and will expand the HAP and “incidental CAP” emissions reporting obligation to many small facilities that are not currently required to report emissions. U.S. EPA’s justification for the proposed rule is gathering “sufficient information to identify and solve air quality and exposure problems.” Information collected under the AERR forms the basis for several U.S. EPA programs, including the National Emissions Inventory (NEI) and the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA).

The elements U.S. EPA is proposing to add to the AERR rule at 40 CFR Part 51, Subpart A that affect facilities with HAP emissions generally include the following:

  • If HAP emissions are above the thresholds in Table 1B to Appendix A of 40 CFR Part 51, Subpart A, either states or facilities would electronically report annual HAP emissions for each release point at the facility to U.S. EPA on an annual basis. Whether the state or the facility reports will depend on whether U.S. EPA approves the state’s reporting program. Note that some of the thresholds for individual HAP emissions are so low that many area sources of HAP emissions would be required to report.
  • Minor CAP sources that qualify for HAP reporting will also be required to report “incidental CAPs,” meaning that if the facility’s emissions are over the HAP reporting threshold but not the CAP reporting threshold, they will report the CAP that is associated with the HAP (e.g., a HAP metal and PM5).
  • Emissions data for small electric generating units (e.g., peak shavers and small units that do not report into the Clean Air Markets program) would be required to be reported.
  • Emissions from offshore and portable facilities would be required to be reported.
  • Emissions from mobile sources at facilities would be required to be reported.
  • Facilities would enter all source test and performance evaluation data electronically into the Emissions Reporting Tool (ERT).
  • Although the proposed rule does not explicitly require additional HAP emissions testing, facilities will be required to use the “best available emissions estimation method” when reporting HAP emissions. U.S. EPA expects that facilities will base reported emissions on recent source data and would need to justify use of alternative emissions information.

Other miscellaneous requirements, definitions, and clarifications are also included in the proposal. These additional requirements would start with the 2026 inventory year; reporting of emissions would be required by May 31, 2027 and annually thereafter, with the deadline moving to March 31 in 2031. U.S. EPA is also considering whether to require reporting of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other non-HAP compounds that are reported in the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).   U.S. EPA also requests comment on a separate malfunction reporting option, where facilities would report their malfunction emissions as a separate value from their other emissions.  Note that U.S. EPA is considering all required data to be emissions data and therefore non-confidential.

A public hearing will be held on August 30, 2023 and comments on the proposed rule are due October 18, 2023. If finalized, the proposed changes will increase the reporting burden on thousands of facilities and further increase scrutiny of your environmental data. The likely outcome of this increased data collection will involve cumulative risk analyses and emissions benchmarking across similar types of facilities.  If you would like assistance commenting on the proposal, evaluating what this rule could mean for your facility or company, or evaluating whether it’s time to implement a digital solution to make compliance with the upcoming changes easier, please contact your ALL4 project manager.


    Sign up to receive 4 THE RECORD articles here. You'll get timely articles on current environmental, health, and safety regulatory topics as well as updates on webinars and training events.
    First Name: *
    Last Name: *
    Location: *
    Email: *