EPA Proposes More Greenhouse Gas Regs

In the face of lawsuits trying to prevent it from regulating greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), the US EPA is proposing to collect data on additional emissions sources in its first-ever national mandatory GHG reporting system. 

Its original ruling, which was finalized in October, 2009,  requires 31 industry sectors – covering 85% of US GHG emissions – to track and report their emissions. 

The agency also wants to collect emissions data from the oil and natural gas sector, industries that emit fluorinated gases, and from facilities that inject and store carbon dioxide underground for the purposes of geologic sequestration or enhanced oil and gas recovery.

Methane is the primary GHG emitted from oil and natural gas systems and is more than 20 times as potent as CO2 at warming the atmosphere, while fluorinated gases are even stronger and can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Data collected from facilities that inject CO2 underground would enable EPA to track the amount of CO2 that is injected and in some cases require a monitoring strategy for detecting potential emissions to the atmosphere.

EPA says this data will provide a better understanding of where GHGs are coming from and will help EPA and businesses develop effective policies and programs to reduce emissions.

"Gathering this information is the first step toward reducing greenhouse emissions and fostering innovative technologies for the clean energy future," says EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. "Once we know where we must act, American innovators and entrepreneurs can develop new technologies to protect our atmosphere and fight climate change."

The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities, and identify cost effective ways to reduce emissions.

EPA is also proposing to require all facilities in the reporting system to provide information on corporate ownership. 

Newly covered sources would begin collecting emissions data on January 1, 2011 with the first annual reports submitted to EPA on March 31, 2012.

The proposal will be open for public comment for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The agency will also hold public hearings on April 19, 2010 in Arlington, Va. and April 20, 2010 in Washington, D.C.

More information on the proposals and the hearings:

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