EPA Proposes Revisions to EPA GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule

This summer, EPA proposed several updates to the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule (40 CFR Part 98). This activity is consistent with EPA’s stated intention to issue amendments and re-propose subparts (i.e., those subparts that were initially reserved upon finalization of the rule last October) by the end of 2010.

June 15, 2010 Revisions

On May 27, 2010, the EPA Administrator signed a proposed rule that includes technical and editorial corrections and clarifying amendments to the MRR. These revisions were published in the Federal Register on June 15, 2010 and, in general, do not change the overall requirements of the rule.  Rather, these amendments were intended to improve clarity and ensure consistency across the calculation, monitoring and data reporting requirements.  The amendments include changes to correct cross references, additional information to clarify compliance obligations, amend equations, and correct definitions and data reporting requirements.

In this action, EPA proposed amendments to the following subparts:

Table 1.  Subparts Revised in June 15, 2010 Proposal

Subpart A – General Provisions

Subpart V – Nitric Acid Production

Subpart E – Adipic Acid Production

Subpart Z – Phosphoric Acid Production

Subpart H – Cement Production

Subpart CC – Soda Ash Manufacturing

Subpart K – Ferroalloy Production

Subpart EE – Titanium Dioxide Production

Subpart N – Glass Production

Subpart GG – Zinc Production

Subpart O – HCFC-22 Production and HFC-23 Destruction

Subpart HH – Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

Subpart P – Hydrogen Production

Subpart LL – Suppliers of Coal-based Liquid Fuels

Subpart Q – Iron and Steel Production

Subpart MM – Suppliers of Petroleum Products

Subpart S – Lime Manufacturing

Subpart NN – Suppliers of Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids

June 28, 2010 Revisions

On June 28, 2010 EPA issued updates to the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule whereby additional subparts were finalized, including:

  • Subpart T – Magnesium Production
  • Subpart FF – Underground Coal Mine
  • Subpart II – Industrial Wastewater Treatment - only for certain facilities (i.e., pulp and paper, food processing, petroleum refining, ethanol production) using anaerobic processes to treat wastewater
  • Subpart TT – Industrial Waste Landfills - for landfills with capacity > 300,000 metric tons

Monitoring and recordkeeping requirements for these newly finalized subparts will begin on January 1, 2011, with the first annual report due by March 31, 2012, covering calendar year 2011 emissions.

Ethanol and food processing subparts were NOT finalized because there were no unique requirements for reporting process emissions from these industries.  EPA deemed that emissions from these facilities would be reported through subparts such as stationary combustion, industrial wastewater treatment, and industrial waste landfills.

Additionally, EPA decided not to include suppliers of coal at this time since the information requested for this subpart will be ultimately covered in other information submitted to EPA, via other information submitted under Part 98 or other readily available data.

EPA proposed Confidentiality Determination and Procedures for Handling Data.  EPA's distinction regarding Confidential Business Information (CBI) in the proposed amendment essentially states that emissions data (from direct emitters) is not considered CBI.  Data that cannot be claimed as CBI is:

  • Facility and unit identifier information (e.g., facility name and physical address)
  • Emissions
  • Inputs to emission equations
  • Calculation methodology and methodological tier
  • Data elements reported for periods of missing data that are not inputs to equations

Data that would be considered CBI (from direct emitters) and not be released to the public would be:

  • Production/throughput data that are not inputs to emission equations
  • Raw materials consumed that are not inputs to emission equations
  • Process-specific and vendor data submitted in best available monitoring methods (BAMM) extension requests

Emissions data and CBI data differs when considering direct emitters versus suppliers under the rule.  More information on emissions data and CBI for suppliers can be found at:  http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads10/CBI_FactSheet.pdf

August 11, 2010 Revisions

On July 20, 2010, EPA signed more proposed revisions to the MRR.  These are clarifying and technical changes to the final rule in addition to (meant to complement, not override) the other technical clarifications signed in late May and published on June 15, 2010.  This group of changes includes:

  • Changes to correct cross references within and between subparts
  • Additional information to clarify compliance obligations in specific provisions, such as the reference to a standardized method that must be followed
  • Amendments to certain equations to better reflect actual operating conditions
  • Corrections to terms and definitions in certain equations
  • Corrections to data reporting requirements so that they more closely conform to the information used to perform emission calculations
  • Other amendments related to certain issues identified as a result of working with  affected sources during rule implementation and outreach

Subparts amended by this proposed rule are listed in Table 2. 

Table 2.  Subparts Revised in August 11, 2010 Proposal

 

Subpart A – General Provisions

Subpart X – Petrochemical Production

Subpart C – Stationary Combustion Sources

Subpart Y – Petroleum Refineries

Subpart D – Electricity Generation

Subpart AA – Pulp and Paper Manufacturing

Subpart F – Aluminum Production

Subpart NN – Suppliers of Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids

Subpart G – Ammonia Manufacturing

Subpart OO – Suppliers of Industrial Greenhouse Gases

Subpart P – Hydrogen Production

Subpart PP – Suppliers of Carbon Dioxide

Subpart V – Nitric Acid Production

Noticeably, EPA has amended parts of Subpart C for Stationary Combustion Sources.  Highlights of the Subpart C amendments are provided below since almost all reporting facilities must comply with these requirements. 

  • Clarifications to the source category definition
  • Addition of new calculation equation for Tier 1 methodology, allowing a reporting entity to easily calculate emissions from natural gas consumption, when consumption is provided in therms (rather than standard cubic feet)
  • Clarifications to the categories of gaseous fuels
  • Limitation of requirement to calculate an annual weighted HHV (high heat value) for Tier 2 units greater than 100 MMBtu/hr (or those units grouped as a single unit greater than 100 MMBtu/hr)
  • Amendment of provision for use of a mass-based gas flow meter for Tier 3 applications
  • Address applicability of Tier 4 to common stack configurations
  • Clarification on starting dates for the use of Tier 4 (essentially the start date will be the date the certification tests are passed)
  • Clarification of fuel sampling frequency for coal and fuel oil
  • Additional guidance on calculating emissions from blended fuels
  • Removal of specific methodologies for testing of HHV, carbon content and molecular weight, to instead refer generically to use of appropriate methods published by consensus standards organizations (e.g., ASTM, ASME, etc)
  • Changes to Tables C-1 and C-2 of the subpart

EPA has also released information on the electronic reporting system.  The Electronic Greenhouse Gas Reporting Tool (e-GGRT) is a new web-based system EPA is developing to support reporting under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP).  According to EPA’s website:

  • E-GGRT will support reporting via completed EPA web forms as well as 'bulk file' uploads for reporters who wish to submit their annual emissions reporting  according to the e-GGRT XML reporting schema
  • EPA expects to make the electronic reporting system operational in early 2011, prior to the March 31, 2011 emissions reporting deadline
  • EPA expects to offer training on the reporting system in Fall 2010 and continuing into 2011

Reporters must register online to become a user of the reporting system.  After registering, e-GGRT will allow users to register facilities and suppliers and submit Certificates of Representation to EPA.

Assuming all of these summarized changes to the Mandatory GHG Reporting Rule are finalized in 2010 as expected, all of these amendments would apply to data reported to EPA in March 2011.  Understanding these changes may affect your monitoring and recordkeeping activities or emission calculation approaches immediately upon finalization of the proposed rules.  Therefore, it is prudent to evaluate whether these corrections affect any of your determinations or methods for complying with the rule, as soon as the proposed rules are finalized.