WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first comprehensive national system for reporting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by major sources in the United States.
"Our efforts to confront climate change must be guided by the best possible information," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Through this new reporting, we will have comprehensive and accurate data about the production of greenhouse gases. This is a critical step toward helping us better protect our health and environment -- all without placing an onerous burden on our nation's small businesses."
In developing the reporting requirements, EPA said it considered the substantial amount of work already completed and underway in many states, regions and voluntary programs.
Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are produced by the burning of fossil fuels and through industrial and biological processes. Approximately 13,000 facilities, accounting for about 85 percent to 90 percent of greenhouse gases emitted in the United States, would be covered under the proposal.
The new reporting requirements would apply to suppliers of fossil fuel and industrial chemicals, manufacturers of motor vehicles and engines, as well as large direct emitters of greenhouse gases with emissions equal to or greater than a threshold of 25,000 metric tons per year. This threshold is roughly equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from just over 4,500 passenger vehicles. The vast majority of small businesses would not be required to report their emissions because their emissions fall well below the threshold, EPA said.
The direct emission sources covered under the reporting requirement would include energy intensive sectors such as cement production, iron and steel production, and electricity generation, among others.
The first annual report would be submitted to EPA in 2011 for the calendar year 2010, except for vehicle and engine manufacturers, which would begin reporting for model year 2011.
EPA estimated that the expected cost to comply with the reporting requirements to the private sector would be $160 million for the first year. In subsequent years, the annualized costs for the private sector would be $127 million, the agency said.
EPA said it is developing this rule under the authority of the Clean Air Act. The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Two public hearings will be held during the comment period.
The California Air Resources Board has adopted a new emissions tracking program that would help regulators identify vehicles with excess smog-related and greenhouse gas emissions.