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August 15, 2012
CBI under GHG reporting rule

The EPA has released final confidentiality determinations for data elements that must be reported by nine industrial sectors under the Agency’s mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting rule (MRR). MRR data that must be reported generally fall into three categories—emissions data, which under the Clean Air Act can never be withheld from the public; data that are not emissions data, but which still may not be considered confidential business information (CBI); and data that are not emissions data and can be claimed as CBI.

Published in October 2009, the MRR requires that facilities that directly emit GHGs as well as indirect emitters (i.e., suppliers of fuels and industrial gases) report their emissions and related information to the EPA. The CAA requires that this information be available to the public unless it is protected by CBI determinations. In May 2011, the EPA finalized CBI determinations for GHG data reported by 34 sectors. The Agency also deferred CBI determinations for other sectors while additional information was reviewed.

Electronics manufacturing, et al.

The current action covers CBI determinations for electronics manufacturing; petroleum and natural gas systems; use of electric transmission and distribution equipment; underground coal mines; industrial wastewater treatment; imports and exports of equipment precharged with fluorinated GHGs or containing fluorinated GHGs in closed-cell foams; geologic sequestration of CO2; manufacture of electric transmission and distribution equipment; and industrial waste landfills.

For direct emitters, the final rule identifies non-CBI emissions data as facility and unit identifier information; emissions; calculation methodology and methodological tier; and data elements reported for periods of missing data that are not inputs to emissions equations. Data that are not emissions data and not CBI are unit/process static characteristics that are not inputs to emissions equations; unit/process operating characteristics that are not inputs to emissions equations; and test and calibration methods.

No emissions data are reportable for suppliers. Data from suppliers that are neither emissions data nor CBI are GHGs reported; production/throughput quantities and composition; identification information; unit/process operating characteristics; calculation, test, and calibration methods; and data elements reported for periods of missing data that are not related to production/throughput or materials received.

Deferred reporting

The final rule also defers the deadline for reporting certain recently added data elements that are inputs to emissions equations used for underground coal mines, industrial waste landfills, and petroleum and natural gas systems.

Lastly, the rule includes amendments that remove the requirement that the electronics manufacturing sector recalculate the previous reporting years’ emissions and resubmit them to the EPA when the best available monitoring methods (BAMM) are allowed.

Final CBI determinations under the MRR were published in the August 13, 2012, FR.

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