General amendments to GHG reporting rule
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December 05, 2013
General amendments to GHG reporting rule

Following changes made by the EPA to global warming potentials (GWPs) for some greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are included in a set of final amendments to the Agency’s GHG Reporting Program, facilities in several industrial categories will need to report their GHG emissions for the first time.  In addition, the revised GWPs will result in modifications to the amounts of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions some facilities will report under the program. 

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The final amendments also include technical revisions affecting calculation methods and which data must be reported.  A third set of revisions covers confidentiality determinations for the new or substantially revised data that must be reported. 

GWP

Final changes to GWPs affect facilities and suppliers reporting methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), certain perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and certain other fluorinated GHGs (F–GHGs).  (As defined in the regulations of the reporting program, F-GHGs include sulfur hexafluoride, nitrogen trifluoride, and any fluorocarbon except for controlled substances, as defined at 40 CFR Part 82, Subpart A, and substances with vapor pressures of less than 1 mm of Hg absolute at 25 degrees C.) 

The revisions incorporate GWPs from the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).  The majority of new reporters—about 180 in total—are expected to be in the categories for petroleum and natural gas systems and municipal solid waste landfills. 

New reporters must begin collecting data on January 1, 2014, for the 2014 reporting year. These reporters are required to submit their first reports, covering the 2014 reporting year, by March 31, 2015.  Prior year reports, using the original GWPs, will remain publicly available.  However, the EPA will also publish a version of the CO2e emissions and supply estimates for reporting years 2010, 2011, and 2012 using the revised GWPs.

Technical amendments

Based on feedback from stakeholders, the EPA has amended monitoring and quality assurance provisions to provide flexibility for certain facilities.  For example, first-time reporters will be allowed to use the best available monitoring method (BAMM), instead of EPA-specified methods, during the January 1, 2014, to March 2014 time period without submitting a formal request to the EPA.  Reporters will also have the opportunity to request an extension for the use of BAMM beyond March 31, 2014; those owners or operators must submit a request to the EPA by January 31, 2014.  Other amendments clarify data reporting requirements for certain facilities and correct inconsistencies in GHG monitoring, calculation, and reporting requirements.

Confidential business information (CBI)

The EPA is finalizing confidentiality determinations for new or substantially revised data elements that must be reported under this rule.  The Clean Air Act does not permit the Agency to protect reported inputs to emissions equations as CBI.  The Agency states that the current rule applies the same methodology that has been used to categorize data elements as confidential in previous regulations issued under the GHG Reporting Program.

EPA’s latest set of amendments to the GHG Reporting Program were published in the November 29, 2013, FR.

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