NSPS Transitioning to Electronic Reporting and Online Data Availability of Reports
Posted: June 3rd, 2015Author: All4 Staff
Update (6/3/15): U.S. EPA has extended the public comment period for the proposed rule titled, “Electronic Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements for New Source Performance Standards,” which was published in the Federal Register on March 20, 2015. The original comment period was scheduled to end on May 19, 2015, but has been extended by 30 days with a new public comment deadline of June 18, 2015. The comment period has been extended to provide the public additional time to submit comments and supporting information. A copy of the notice of extension can be found here.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) as well as various state environmental agencies have slowly but surely been making the transition to electronic reporting. Although there are many benefits to electronic reporting, the transition from traditional paper reporting can be challenging (and sometimes confusing) when learning how to use these new systems. Now, with a proposed rule that will require electronic reporting for the majority of new source performance standards (NSPS), you will likely need to get ready to learn another new electronic reporting system.
On Friday, March 20, 2015, U.S. EPA proposed to revise the 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 60 General Provisions (Subpart A) and various individual NSPS subparts to require the electronic submittal of specific air emissions reports to U.S. EPA and to allow these reports to be maintained electronically. U.S. EPA suggests that this move towards electronic reporting will “result in less burden on the regulated community” and will allow for “more accurate and timely development” of regulations, emissions factors, emissions inventories, trends analysis, regional and local scale air quality modeling, regulatory impact assessments, and human exposure modeling.
The proposed rule would require that specific air emission reports such as summary reports, excess emission reports, compliance test reports, and performance evaluation reports be submitted to the U.S. EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX), rather than submitted in paper format. The proposed rule will not increase reporting requirements and will not change the way that the reports are submitted to a facility’s state or local air agency. However, state and local air agencies may “opt in” to receiving reports electronically using U.S. EPA’s system.
So how will it all work? The general process for the electronic submittal of reports as proposed is outlined below:
- Register on the CDX homepage (if a new user) and log in to CDX.
- Select the Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface (CEDRI) from the Active Program List.
- Upload and/or input results:
- Performance tests and performance evaluation reports will need to use U.S. EPA’s Electronic Reporting Tool (ERT) to generate report files that can be uploaded to CEDRI. It should be noted though, that the ERT is limited in the pollutants and test methods it supports.
- Summary reports and excess emission reports will be input and/or uploaded into the applicable report forms.
- In the event that CEDRI does not support electronic submittal of certain required reports, the report(s) shall be submitted as currently required until 90 days after the date the reporting form becomes available.
- U.S. EPA plans on releasing an extensible markup language (XML) schema, prior to rule promulgation, which would allow third-parties to develop alternative report options in order to upload performance tests/evaluations not supported by the ERT and to upload subpart-specific reports to CEDRI.
- Electronically certify and submit the report(s).
The reports will be archived in the CDX and will be sent to the WebFIRE database within 60 days of submittal where they will be available to the public. Currently, these reports are not typically available online and the public would need to obtain copies through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request or through a file inspection at state or local regulatory agencies. If there are any concerns with the online data availability of the reports, it is suggested that affected facilities submit public comments. Comments on the proposed rule are due on or before May 19, 2015.
The effective date of the rule will be 90 days after it is published to allow time for the transition. Facilities will still need to submit hardcopy reports as currently required in the interim.
There are sure to be challenges or “growing pains” that come with this change. Contact us if you have any questions regarding what this transition to electronic reporting may mean for your facility.