The reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by major sources of these pollutants is gaining momentum.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing requirements under its national mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting program for underground coal mines, industrial wastewater treatment systems, industrial waste landfills and magnesium production facilities. The data from these sectors will provide a better understanding of GHG emissions and will help EPA and businesses develop effective policies and programs to reduce them.
Methane is the primary GHG emitted from coal mines, industrial wastewater treatment systems and industrial landfills and is more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere. The main fluorinated GHG emitted from magnesium production is sulfur hexafluoride, which has an even greater warming potential than methane, and can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
These source categories will begin collecting emissions data on January 1, 2011, with the first annual reports submitted to EPA on March 31, 2012.
In a separate proposed rule, EPA is requesting public comment on which industry related GHG information would be made publicly available and which would be considered confidential. Under the Clean Air Act, all emission data are public. Some non-emission data, however, may be considered confidential, because it relates to specific information which, if made public, could harm a business’s competitiveness. Examples of data considered confidential under the proposal include certain information reported by fossil fuel and industrial gas suppliers related to production quantities and raw materials.
The GHG reporting program requires suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial GHGs and large direct emitters of greenhouse gases to report to EPA. Collecting this data will require businesses to track emissions and help them identify cost effective ways to reduce emissions. EPA is preparing to provide data to the public after the first annual GHG reports are submitted in March 2011.
There will be a 60-day public comment period on the proposed rules that will begin when they are published in the federal register.
Article by Roger Greenway, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.
photo: Esprit de sel