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EPA Proposes Amendments to Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule In Order To Address Confidential Business Information Concerns


By Kelly D. Bartley, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

On August 29, 2013 EPA signed a proposed rule that would amend the recordkeeping and reporting requirements applicable to 24 subparts of the Greenhouse Gas Mandatory Reporting Rule program, 40 CFR Part 98, to address disclosure concerns identified for certain data reporting elements.

In July 2010, EPA proposed confidentiality determinations for data required to be reported for most source categories subject to the reporting program.  Therein, EPA proposed that emission equation inputs be classified as emission data and therefore precluded from being treated as confidential.  In response to comments stating concerns regarding the release of this data, EPA, in a rule published August 25, 2011, deferred the reporting deadline for emission equation inputs in order to allow adequate time to evaluate commenters’ concerns.

In the proposed rule marking the culmination of EPA’s evaluation, the agency proposes alternative recordkeeping and reporting requirements as well as procedures that would allow EPA to verify data and ensure compliance without requiring reporting of data elements for which disclosure concerns had been identified.  Such data would be kept as records rather than reported to EPA.  Under the proposal, facilities would enter data elements into an electronic tool that will calculate the emissions and verify them.  The electronic tool would not retain the entered inputs to protect confidentiality but would allow EPA to access the verification summary indicating whether the reported values are different from values calculated by the tool based on inputs.

Reporting requirements for emission equation inputs for which disclosure concerns were not identified are not proposed to be amended in the action.  For those inputs deferral of reporting requirements would expire in March 2015.  Subparts for which EPA is proposing to use the electronic inputs verification tool in lieu of reporting covered equation emission inputs are: Subpart C (stationary fuel combustion sources, excluding specified sources connected to certain electric generators connected and available to deliver power to the local or regional power grid); Subpart E (adipic acid production); Subpart F (aluminum manufacturing); Subpart G (ammonia manufacturing); Subpart H (cement production); Subpart K (ferro alloy production); Subpart L (fluorinated gas production); Subpart N (glass production); Subpart O (HFC-22 production and HFC-23 destruction); and Subpart P (hydrogen production).

As of the date of this publication, the proposed rule has not yet been published in the Federal Register.

To view a complete PDF of the Third Quarter 2013 issue of the Air Quality Letter, click HERE.


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