On March 10, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) pre-published a proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring and reporting regulation that will soon appear in the Federal Register. This regulation, if finalized as written, would require a host of industries from varied sectors of the economy to track their emissions of GHGs and report those emissions annually to USEPA.

Until this proposed regulation was released, it was not known, with assurance, which industries, and what size facilities, would be affected. Although the proposed regulation may be changed based on comments that may be received (a 60-day comment period has been established), it appears that the following industries will be affected:

  • General Stationary Fuel Combustion Sources
  • Electricity Generation
  • Adipic Acid Production
  • Aluminum Production
  • Ammonia Manufacturing
  • Cement Production
  • Electronics Manufacturing
  • Ethanol Production
  • Ferroalloy Production
  • Fluorinated GHG Production
  • Food Processing
  • Glass Production
  • HCFC-22 Production and HFC-23 Destruction
  • Hydrogen Production
  • Iron and Steel Production
  • Lead Production
  • Lime Manufacturing
  • Magnesium Production
  • Nitric Acid Production
  • Oil and Natural Gas Systems
  • Petrochemical Production Petroleum Refineries
  • Phosphoric Acid Production
  • Pulp and Paper Manufacturing
  • Silicon Carbide Production
  • Soda Ash Manufacturing
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) from Electrical Equipment
  • Titanium Dioxide Production
  • Underground Coal Mines
  • Zinc Production
  • Landfills
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Manure Management
  • Suppliers of Coal
  • Suppliers of Coal-based Liquid Fuels
  • Suppliers of Petroleum Products
  • Suppliers of Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs)
  • Suppliers of Industrial GHGs
  • Suppliers of Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Manufacturers of Mobile Sources

In scanning through this list, which contains many specific industry names, it is easy to overlook a rather blandly named category of GHG sources that should be given special attention by facility owners and operators who may have thought that GHG regulation would reach only electric power plants, steel plants, cement plants and the like (e.g., the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or "RGGI" – a multistate GHG reduction initiative – is aimed solely at electric generating facilities). This blandly named category – the first one listed above – is called "General Stationary Fuel Combustion Sources." The sources in this category are facilities with commonplace combustion devices including, but not limited to: boilers, combustion turbines, engines, incinerators and process heaters that "combust solid, liquid, or gaseous fuel generally for the purposes of producing electricity, generating steam, or providing useful heat or energy for industrial, commercial, or institutional use, or reducing the volume of waste by removing combustible matter." Facilities meeting this definition and having emissions greater than or equal to 25,000 metric tons CO2e/yr ("CO2e" = carbon dioxide equivalent) are covered under this new, USEPA-proposed regulation. USEPA estimates that 3,000 "General Stationary Fuel Combustion Sources" have GHG emissions exceeding this threshold.

Also of note is that the proposed regulation covers suppliers (in addition to end users) of GHG-producing fuels. Specifically, the proposed regulation covers suppliers of coal, coal-based liquid fuels, petroleum products, natural gas and natural gas liquids.

Under this proposed regulation, affected facilities and suppliers would be required to begin collecting data on January 1, 2010. The first emissions report would be due on March 31, 2011, for emissions emitted during 2010. Reports would be submitted annually.

If you have a facility or supply operation that is described above, and you have not already begun monitoring its emissions of GHG in a manner that positions you to be able to comply with the proposed requirements, you should waste no time in developing your capability to do so.