Latest EPA Plan Raises Concerns

June 28, 2010
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking to step up its measurement of greenhouse gas emissions and has included refrigerant manufacturing in the calculations. It is a proposal that appears to be raising some concerns among refrigerant manufacturers over reporting expectations, the amount of data expected, and questions of business confidentiality.

The EPA said it “is proposing to include additional emissions sources in its first-ever national mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting system. The data from these sectors 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.”

The release said the first reporting requirements were issued in October 2009 involving 31 industries. The most recent proposal involves “collecting emissions data from the oil and natural gas sector, industries that emit fluorinated gases, and from facilities that inject and store carbon dioxide (CO2) underground for the purposes of geologic sequestration or enhanced oil and gas recovery.”

EPA added, “The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities, and identify cost-effective ways to reduce their emissions in the future. EPA is also proposing to require all facilities in the reporting system, including those proposed, to provide information on their corporate ownership.”

“Gathering this information is the first step toward reducing greenhouse emissions and fostering innovative technologies for the clean energy future,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

NOT A DONE DEAL

The most recent proposal is not a done deal. Public hearings were held in mid-April and the proposals will be open for public comment for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The NEWS contacted a number of refrigerant manufacturers for comment. Several replied but asked not to be put on the record.

But in general, concerns included how to measure to the levels asked by the EPA; reporting information that may conflict with confidential business information; and what the EPA will do with the information collected. It was noted that the EPA plans to have a submission website up and running before the data is due starting in 2012.

REGIONAL REPORTING

Within a more than 200-page document accompanying the proposal, the EPA also said that it has been reviewing the various state reporting programs such as those in California and New Mexico and reporting aspects of regional partnerships with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Western Climate Initiative, and The Climate Registry.

“These are important programs that not only led the way in reporting of GHG emissions before the federal government acted but also assist in quantifying the GHG reductions achieved by various policies,” the EPA said. “Many of these programs collect different or additional data as compared to the proposed rule. State programs may establish lower thresholds for reporting, request information on areas not addressed in EPA’s reporting rule, or include different data elements to support other programs” such as offsets.

Publication date: 06/28/2010

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