EPA greenhouse gas reporting and monitoring to begin in 2010

Washington, D.C., October 1, 2009 — On January 1, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will, for the first time, require large emitters of heat-trapping emissions to begin collecting greenhouse gas data under a new reporting system.

This new program will cover about 85 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions and apply to roughly 10,000 facilities. Regulated facilities could include fossil fuel-fired power generation plants, refineries and heavy industry that produce the country’s largest share of GHG pollution.

“This is a major step forward in our effort to address the greenhouse gases polluting our skies,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “For the first time, we begin collecting data from the largest facilities in this country, ones that account for approximately 85 percent of the total U.S. emissions. The American public, and industry itself, will finally gain critically important knowledge and with this information we can determine how best to reduce those emissions.”

Both Obama and Jackson have said they favor a legislative approach to regulating GHG emissions, but Obama authorized the EPA to move forward with its rulemaking process to help goad Congress into action — and potentially strengthen the country’s negotiating ability heading into December’s international climate change talks in Copenhagen.

Jackson said that while the rule would impact about large sources of carbon dioxide, most were already subject to permitting requirements due to the other emissions they create.

The EPA said its new reporting system will provide a better understanding of where GHGs are coming from and will guide development of the best possible policies and programs to reduce emissions. The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities, and provide assistance in identifying cost effective ways to reduce emissions in the future. This comprehensive, nationwide emissions data will help in the fight against climate change.

Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are produced by burning fossil fuels and through industrial and biological processes. Fossil fuel and industrial GHG suppliers, motor vehicle and engine manufacturers, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide equivalent per year will be required to report GHG emissions data to EPA annually. This threshold is equivalent to about the annual GHG emissions from 4,600 passenger vehicles.

The first annual reports for the largest emitting facilities, covering calendar year 2010, will be submitted to EPA in 2011. Vehicle and engine manufacturers outside of the light-duty sector will begin phasing in GHG reporting with model year 2011. Some source categories included in the proposed rule are still under review.

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