EPA Sets Requirements for Big Polluters to Disclose Their Annual Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency is ready to launch America’s first comprehensive national greenhouse gas emissions reporting program.

The EPA announced today that it has finalized the requirements for its new program. That means America’s biggest polluters will have to start publicly disclosing their annual emissions — data we need to create effective federal policy to fight climate change. Data collection will begin January 1, 2010, with disclosure required in the first quarter of 2011.

Mark MacLeod, an EDF expert on climate policy, praised the announcement:

The public has both a need and a right to know about the country’s biggest emitters. The transparency provided today will inform smart policy that targets the biggest sources of heat-trapping emissions.

Here are some key details about the new program:

  • It will apply to about 10,000 large emitters. Those emitters are responsible for about 80-percent of all the heat-trapping gases emitted in the country.
  • It sets a reporting threshold of 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. That’s the equivalent of 131 rail cars of coal or 58,000 barrels of oil consumed, or the emissions from the annual energy use of about 2,200 homes.
  • Businesses that emit less than 25,000 tons of emission per year are NOT covered. That means the rule does NOT apply to churches or schools, as some have falsely claimed. The rule also does NOT create the totally spurious  “cow tax.”
  • The rule will cover the most dangerous global warming pollutants including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and other fluorinated gases.

The new EPA program is based on valuable efforts that are already underway. Forty-one states are currently participating in The Climate Registry. And since 1995, fossil-fuel fired power plants over 25 megawatts in size have been subject to mandatory reporting requirements for carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. These two efforts have started providing an important database of emissions. Now the EPA program will allow us to take the next necessary step.

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  1. Lori
    Posted September 26, 2009 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Thank God -it is about time. I live and work in tow of the filthiest counties in the USA and I can not understand how these companies are allowed to poison our air and then sell us their products. We have a flunking grade from the American Lung Association for at least the last 5 years. We have horrific amounts of asthma in our children and adults. Air pollution is a huge contributing factor to heart disease. Please go to The American Lung Associations site to read the facts.
    No one has the right to take your air, water or food and poison it to make a profit for themselves. It kills people, their children and the other creatures on the planet. It would be great if they took the responsibility to keep it clean without having to have laws made to force them. Shame on them and shame on us for not demanding our healthy earth back sooner. Your passion will rise with each one of your loved ones getting cancer. I have lost over 20 people in the last 4 years from a variety of cancers.
    Thank for EDF and thank the EPA for getting a disclosure program in the works.

  2. Pierre Champagne
    Posted September 26, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    One more step forward, but we have to keep in mind that enforcement is often an issue when it comes to the environment. Environmental strategies like <a hrefA Cap-and-Trade Alternative for Global Warming, Conservation, Toxic Contaminants… use markets to the advantage of the environment and are more enforced because of how they are designed.

    Alternative Strategies for Non-Renewable Resources and the Environment