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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Proposes and Finalizes Further Changes to Greenhouse Gas Reporting Requirements for Electronics Manufacturing and Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems Sectors

11.01.2011

As reported in previous issues of the Greenebaum Air Quality Letter, initial GHG emission reports under the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule, 40 CFR Part 98, are due from both the electronics manufacturing (Subpart I) and petroleum and natural gas (Subpart W) sectors on March 31, 2012.  Recently, EPA proposed and finalized several changes to the reporting requirements applicable to GHG emission reporting for these sectors.

First, on September 9, 2011, EPA published proposed changes to Subparts A, I, and W of the Reporting Rule purporting to “correct technical and editorial errors and address issues identified as a result of working with trade associations and reporters” in implementing rule requirements applicable to these sectors.  With regard to the electronics manufacturing sector, proposed changes include an amendment to the definition of fluorinated heat transfer fluids, the use of which results in GHG emissions required to be calculated and reported under the rule.  In the September 9 proposal, EPA proposes to expand the definition of that term as well as otherwise “clarify” use of the terms “fluorinated GHGs” and “fluorinated heat transfer fluids” throughout the Subpart.  EPA intends to finalize the changes before the end of 2011 and specifically requested comment regarding whether covered entities would be able to implement the changes by the March 31, 2012 reporting deadline.

With regard to the petroleum and natural gas sector, the September 9 rule proposes various technical amendments largely regarded as “clarifying,” providing greater “flexibility” and setting forth “simplified calculation methods” and not impacting the type of information that must be collected and or how emissions are calculated.  One exception relates to changes for field level reporting for four emissions sources in the onshore petroleum and natural gas production segment.   EPA proposed to require covered entities to report GHG emissions from certain wells and storage tanks on a county level and by geologic formation rather than by Energy Information Administration field designations. EPA proposes to finalize the amendments such that data submitted for the 2011 reporting year (due March 31, 2012) will be required to incorporate the changes as finalized.  

EPA states that its September 9 proposal is intended to “complement” and “not duplicate or replace” other technical amendments impacting Subpart W as published on August 4, 2011 (technical amendments to Subpart W as well as other Subparts) and June 27, 2011 (impacting best available monitoring requirements applicability to Subpart W), although the September 9 proposed rule does acknowledge that “in limited” cases the September 9 proposal does propose amendments that impact a previous technical correction.  Details regarding these actions were provided in the last issue of the Greenebaum Air Quality Letter

On September 27, 2011, EPA also published a final rule amending the calculation and monitoring provisions of Subpart I.  For reporting years 2011, 2012 and 2013, the Amendments allow the largest semiconductor manufacturing facilities (i.e., those that fabricate devices on wafers measuring 300 millimeters or less in diameter and that have an average manufacturing capacity of 10,500 square meters) to use an alternate methodology to calculate GHG emissions from batch processes.  In the June 2011 proposed rule, EPA proposed allowing use of the alternative methodology for 2011 and 2012 data.  In addition, the final rule extends two deadlines applicable to the use of best available monitoring methods.  The final rule was effective September 30, 2011.

Finally, on September 27, 2011, EPA finalized amendments to the best available monitoring methods (BAMM) provisions in Subpart W. With these amendments, owners and operators of facilities covered by Subpart W are now permitted to use BAMM, such as supplier data, engineering calculations or other company records rather than data required by the rule, to calculate emissions in 2011 without submitting a request for approval to EPA. In addition, the final rule expands the types of emission sources that are permitted to use BAMM in 2011 without being required to submit a request for EPA approval and also gives covered entities additional time to request to use BAMM beyond 2011.   EPA proposed the rule on June 27, 2011.  See second quarter issue of the Greenebaum Air Quality Letter.


To view a complete PDF of the Third Quarter 2011 issue of the Air Quality Letter, click HERE.

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