EPA extends GHG reporting deadline

By Lisa Gibson | March 29, 2011

The U.S. EPA has extended its March 31 deadline for reporting 2010 emissions data under its Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule to Sept. 30. The extension will allow more time for the agency to further test the system that facilities will use to submit their data and give the industry the opportunity to test the tool, provide feedback and have sufficient time to become familiar with it prior to reporting, according to the EPA.

It’s difficult to determine the number of biomass facilities that will be required to participate in the reporting program, but the rule’s stationary source category specifies a minimum threshold of 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent for mandatory compliance.

Large electricity generating facilities cofiring with biomass will likely be required to report under the rule because of their size, according to Anna Wildeman, a member of the Land and Resource Practice Group for law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. By and large, those facilities already have emissions monitoring in place, so the only new expenses in many cases will be the data collection and submission processes, still only running around $4,000, which is a fraction of their annual compliance costs. “For existing large emitters, this rule isn’t really a huge spend,” Wildeman said. Those facilities may just need to tweak or update their emissions systems to satisfy the standard. But those that are required under the rule to install a continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) could be looking at additional costs around $250,000.

The rule includes four tiers of emission calculation methods, Tier 1being the least burdensome, requiring use of emission factors based on annual fuel use; and Tier 4 being the most burdensome, requiring a CEMS. In between, a range of calculation options are offered.

Under the GHG Reporting Program, entities required to submit data must register with the electronic reporting tool, e-GGRT, no later than 60 days before the reporting deadline. So with the extension of the reporting deadline, the registration deadline has also been extended from Jan. 30 to Aug. 1. The extension was announced after the original January registration deadline, however, so most required participants most likely are already registered with the reporting tool.

For more information on the GHG Reporting Program, click here.