April 1, 2010 Deadline for Monitoring and GHG Reporting Plans Under EPA's GHG Reporting Rule

Thursday, March 11, 2010

On September 22, 2009 and December 3, 2009, we sent Regulatory Alerts describing issuance by EPA of the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Rule.  The Alerts highlighted some of the key provisions that may apply to your facility. 

The Rule requires certain suppliers of fossil fuels, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and industrial, commercial and institutional facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from combustion to submit annual GHG emissions reports to EPA.  Compliance was to begin as of January 1, 2010, with the first annual report due by March 31, 2011.   

The Rule sets forth specific reporting requirements for 31 source categories, including:  “stationary fuel combustion sources,” “electricity generation,” “cement production,” “pulp and paper manufacturing,” “municipal solid waste landfills,” “manure management,” and “suppliers of petroleum products.”    

By April 1, 2010, facilities must develop a GHG Reporting Plan that contains the following elements, at a minimum: 

  • Identification of positions of responsibility (i.e., job titles) for collection of the emissions data.
  • Explanation of the processes and methods used to collect the necessary data for the GHG calculations.
  • Description of the procedures and methods that are used for quality assurance, maintenance, and repair of all continuous monitoring systems, flow meters, and other instrumentation used to provide data for the GHGs reported under this part.
  • The GHG Monitoring Plan may rely on references to existing corporate documents (e.g., standard operating procedures or quality assurance programs under Appendix F to 40 C.F.R. Part 60 or Appendix B to 40 C.F.R. Part 75) provided that the elements required by the Rule are easily recognizable.
  • The GHG Monitoring Plan must be revised as needed to reflect changes in production processes, monitoring instrumentation, and quality assurance procedures; or to improve procedures for the maintenance and repair of monitoring systems to reduce the frequency of monitoring equipment downtime.

The various subparts of the Rule specify reporting requirements and methodologies for certain equipment at the listed industry source categories.  In addition, the Rule specifies certain monitoring requirements (e.g., fuel monitoring for the amount of fuel sent to fuel combustion sources, periodic sampling of various fuels for heat content and carbon content and calibration requirements for monitors and meters).  The Rule allows reporters to use “Best Available Monitoring Methods” until April 1, 2010, for any parameter that cannot reasonably be measured (e.g., fuel use amounts, daily carbon content of feedstock).  Certain multi-fuel boilers may be required to utilize continuous emission monitors to track GHG emissions.  In any case, except for certain continuous emissions monitors, the monitoring methods required by the Rule must be in place by April 1, 2010

When considering the impacts of this Rule and the potential need to install new monitors, you should carefully consider whether installation of new monitors might impact your facility’s obligations under DEP’s Chapter 117 regarding continuous emissions monitors, or compliance under an air emission license.  It may be necessary to amend air emission licenses to address compliance issues raised by installing, for example, a flow monitor where none previously existed and compliance with mass emission limits has been based on stack tests and/or calculations using “f” factors.  New information regarding fuel heat content may also impact prior calculations regarding maximum mass emissions used in air licensing actions.

If you have any questions regarding EPA’s GHG Rule or its potential impacts on existing compliance obligations under air license limitations and regulations, please do not hesitate to contact Dixon Pike (207-791-1374 or dpike@pierceatwood.com) or Brian Rayback (207-791-1188 or brayback@pierceatwood.com).