More Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule Revisions
Posted: September 4th, 2012Author: All4 Staff
On August 24, 2012 in Federal Register Vol.77, No 165, U.S. EPA announced the finalization of amendments to specific provisions of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule. The amendments are intended to provide greater clarity and flexibility to facilities subject to reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the industrial waste landfill, petroleum and natural gas systems, fluorinated gas production, and electronics manufacturing source categories. These amendments come at a time when reporting facilities in these categories are preparing to submit their first annual data by September 28, 2012. However, U.S. EPA does not expect this to cause any problems for reporting facilities since the amendments do not significantly change the overall calculation and monitoring requirements or add additional requirements. In this same action, U.S. EPA also finalized confidentiality determinations for four (4) new data elements for the fluorinated gas production source category and amendments to defer the reporting deadline of an input to an emission equation utilized by this source category until 2015.
Published by U.S EPA on October 30, 2009, the Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, which is codified in 40 CFR Part 98 (Part 98), mandates U.S. EPA’s collection of GHG data and other relevant information from large sources and suppliers in the United States for use in informing future policy decisions. This action finalizes amendments to provisions in the following Subparts of Part 98: A (General Provision), TT (Industrial Waste Landfills), W (Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems), and L (Fluorinated Gas Production).
The amendment to Subpart A is intended to bring the Subpart into accord with a technical correction previously finalized in February 2012 for Subpart I (Electronics Manufacturing) which required reports to calculate emissions of certain additional fluorinated heat transfer fluids. Amendments to Subpart TT add another method that sources can use to show that the material placed in a landfill is inert and thus exclude their facility from the reporting requirements. The method involves the direct determination of waste-specific degradable organic carbon (DOC) via an anaerobic biodegradation test. The landfill is excluded from reporting requirements when a waste is determined to have a DOC value of 0.3 weight % (wet basis) or less. The U.S. EPA rationalizes these changes on the basis that the excluded facilities are not expected to emit GHGs since they receive only inert wastes that do not generate methane. Unfortunately, the timing of this amendment may not help all facilities eligible for the exclusion because the 2011 reporting deadline comes only 35 days after the notice of the amendment, and the anaerobic biodegradation test takes at least 60 days.
The amendments to Subpart W consist mostly of technical corrections and clarifications which are not expected to affect the methods and actions facilities must take in order to comply with the rule (e.g., corrections to emission factors in Table W-1A for the onshore petroleum and natural gas production segment). In the case of Subpart L, the amendments are temporary to defer detailed reporting of GHG emissions from fluorinated gas production facilities until 2014 in order to allow U.S. EPA time to fully evaluate concerns about confidentiality raised by stakeholders. Facilities subject to Subpart L will continue to report GHG emissions in a more aggregated manner in 2012 and 2013. Finally, the amendments finalize confidentiality determinations for the four new Subpart L data elements added in this rule.