EPA released its final version of the Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule today. The Rule (which we blogged about in its draft form here) will require large emitters of greenhouse gases to begin collecting emissions data on January 1, 2010 and file their first self-certified reports in March 2011. The EPA will then verify the data, as in other Clean Air Act programs. The new program will cover approximately 85% of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions and apply to roughly 10,000 facilities, down from the 13,000 that EPA had predicted in its draft rule in March.
The rule has changed somewhat since it was proposed, through two public hearings and over 17,000 written public comments. Some of the more significant changes include reducing the number of source categories that are automatically required to report (excluding, interestingly, food processing, waste water treatment, and suppliers of coal) and allowing facilities that reduce their emissions below the annual threshold of 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent ( CO2e) to cease reporting after 5 years. The rule also adds a provision to allow the use of best available data in lieu of required monitoring methods for the first few months of the reporting period (through March 2010).
As in the draft rule, the threshold for reporting is generally 25,000 metric tons or more of CO2e per year, although some source categories are automatically included. Reporting is conducted at the facility level, except for suppliers of fossil fuels and engine and vehicle manufacturers, who will report at the corporate level. With this rule, the EPA will be counting emissions from cars, too. Vehicle manufacturers begin their reporting with CO2-only for model year 2011, and phase in other greenhouse gases in subsequent model years.