In June 2011 the MassDEP proposed amendments to 310 CMR 7.71 to improve consistency among MassDEP’s GHG reporting program, The Climate Registry’s most current General Reporting Protocol (GRP) and the U.S. EPA’s GHG reporting program.  The MassDEP is proposing to revise references to The Climate Registry’s GRP and General Verification Protocol (GVP) to remove references to specific versions of those documents in the regulation.  Deleting references to specific versions of these documents will allow, but not require, reporters to quantify emissions in accordance with the version of the GRP that is published by The Climate Registry at the time of reporting, using the most up to date methodologies and emissions factors that are available for use in the MA GHG Registry electronic reporting system.  Using the most recent available methodologies could also improve consistency between data in the MA GHG Registry and data reported to other programs. 

The MassDEP is also proposing to amend the definition of “stationary emission source” to clarify that all sources of greenhouse gases emissions located at the facility, including portable equipment, but not motor vehicles, are considered stationary emission sources for the purpose of reporting GHG emissions pursuant to 310 CMR 7.71.  Portable equipment that may be included in this definition include, but are not limited to, portable welders, generators, and refrigeration units that are not self-powered but can be moved to different locations.  Self-powered sources of emissions, such as forklifts and construction equipment, are considered motor vehicles.  The proposed amended “stationary emission source” definition is:

“Stationary Emission Source means any individual stationary piece of equipment from which any greenhouse gas is emitted to the ambient air, or any other stationary emission point.  For the purpose of reporting greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to 310 CMR 7.71, all sources of greenhouse gas emissions located within the facility are considered stationary emissions sources if they are not motor vehicles.”

Natural gas networks include transmission pipelines, compressors, service lines and customer meters whose emissions in combination with other interconnected natural gas containing equipment operated by a company, must be reported if in excess of 5,000 short tons of CO2e annually.  To address questions received about reporting of GHG emissions from the natural gas networks that are owned or operated by natural gas transmission companies, the MassDEP is proposing to add a definition of “natural gas facility” that includes specific examples of such equipment.  The proposed definition is:

“Natural gas facility means a collection of interconnected natural gas containing equipment (e.g., transmission and distribution pipelines, service lines, customer meters, compressors, tanks, metering stations, regulating stations, and any other interconnected equipment that contains natural gas) that is owned or operated by an entity.”

The goal of Massachusetts’ GHG reporting program is to obtain accurate emissions reports to inform stakeholders about the sources of GHG emissions.  As such, it is important that GHG emissions from natural gas facilities be reported.  Such facilities are encouraged to contact MassDEP to discuss specific cases in which a single company would prefer to aggregate multiple facilities for convenience, and cases in which air emissions from equipment that is part of a larger facility are already being reported separately to MassDEP under 310 CMR 7.71 or another emissions reporting program.
The MassDEP is also proposing a new requirement that would apply to facilities that are required to report emissions pursuant to EPA’s new GHG reporting regulation (40 CFR Part 98).  This proposal means that facilities that report emissions from a particular piece of equipment or emissions source pursuant to 40 CFR Part 98 will be required to utilize the same methodology to quantify emissions for the purpose of reporting the same emissions to MassDEP.  This will increase compatibility between the MA GHG reporting program and US EPA’s database.  However, there will be cases in which reported emissions will not be identical because, for example, the two programs differ with regard to facility definitions and rules related to aggregating emissions from multiple emissions units.

The MassDEP also proposed amendments to provisions that allow electricity sellers, when calculating their GHG emissions, to identify specific generators whose electricity they sell, instead of using default emission factors provided by MassDEP.

A public hearing on the proposed revisions was held on August 9, 2011.

If you have questions about these proposed amendments, please contact Trinity’s Massachusetts office at (508) 630-2246.