For over a decade, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has required thousands of facilities and organizations to report annual emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) (40 CFR part 98). The most recent reports were due in April 2022, covering 2021 emissions from more than 8,000 entities (I summarized these requirements HERE https://blog.stpub.com/mandatory-ghg-epa-reports-due-april-1-2022). EPA has now published summary compilations of these data, showing an overall 4% increase in emissions compared with 2020. EPA attributes the increases to economic expansion coming out of the COVID-induced downturn, and reminds readers that reported emissions are generally lower than in those first reported for 2010-2011.
Who Must Report?
EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) presently requires reporting from the following qualifying entities:
· 19 sectors - facilities with a source of any size in any of the following sectors: adipic acid production; aluminum production; ammonia manufacturing; cement production; electricity generation; electrical transmission and distribution equipment manufacture and refurbishment; electrical transmission and distribution equipment use; geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide; HCFC-22 production; lime manufacturing; nitric acid production; injection of carbon dioxide; petrochemical production; petroleum refineries; phosphoric acid production; silicon carbide production; soda ash production; and titanium dioxide production.
· 4 sectors - facilities with a source in a specified sector with emissions above a specified threshold: HFC-23 destruction processes that are not co-located with a HCFC-22 production facility and that destroy more than 2.14 metric tons of HFC-23 per year; municipal solid waste landfills that generate 25,000 metric tons CO2 equivalent (CO2e) or more of CH4 per year; manure management systems with combined CH4 and N2O emissions of 25,000 metric tons CO2e or more per year (although Congress has repeatedly deferred EPA’s authority to enforce against this sector); and underground coal mines subject to quarterly or more frequent sampling by Mine Safety and Health Administration of ventilation systems.
· 13 sectors - facilities that contain any source in any of the following specified source categories, and that emit a total 25,000 metric tons CO2e or more per year in combined emissions from all stationary fuel combustion units, miscellaneous uses of carbonate, and these source categories: electronics manufacturing; ferroalloy production; fluorinated gas production; glass production; hydrogen production; industrial waste landfills; industrial wastewater treatment; iron and steel production; lead production; magnesium production; petroleum and natural gas systems; pulp and paper manufacturing; and zinc production.
· 6 sectors - suppliers of the following GHGs or fuels that emit GHGs when burned or consumed: coal-to-liquids; importers and exporters of fluorinated greenhouse gases contained in pre-charged equipment or closed-cell foams; petroleum products; natural gas and natural gas liquids; industrial GHGs; CO2; and importers and exporters of fluorinated GHGs contained in pre-charged equipment or closed-cell foams.
· PLUS facilities without any source in the preceding categories, but with aggregate maximum rated heat input capacity of stationary fuel combustion units of 30 million Btu per hour (mmBtu/hr or greater), that emit 25,000 metric tons CO2e or more from all stationary fuel combustion sources.
What do the 2021 data show?
On October 17, EPA made 2021 reported data available to the public via its Internet site. At the same time, EPA introduced an upgraded version of its online tool for presenting GHGRP data (the Facility Level Information on Greenhouse gases Tool (FLIGHT)). According to EPA, more than 8,100 industrial facilities and entities, representing more than half of nationwide GHG emissions, reported in 2021. Comparing this information with prior years, EPA highlights the following developments:
· Power plants were the largest stationary sources of GHG emissions, with 1,326 facilities reporting approximately 1.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Reported power plant emissions increased by 6.3% between 2020 and 2021 (having fallen 28.5% since 2011).
· Petroleum and natural gas systems were the second largest stationary source of GHG emissions, reporting 312 million metric tons. Reported emissions for 2021 were 0.7% lower than in 2020, but 12.8% higher than this sector’s first reports in 2016.
· Reported direct GHG emissions from other large sources in the industrial and waste sectors were a combined 807 million metric tons in 2021, up 1.8% from 2020 (and down 7.7% since 2011).
Reports with 2022 data will be due on April 1, 2023. In June 2022, EPA proposed extensive technical revisions to the GHGRP reporting requirements, mostly to update and refine data management and reporting requirements; comments were due by October 6 and it remains to be seen how quickly revisions will be finalized and how soon reporting entities will be required to apply them.
Has the organization prepared a GHG emissions inventory, identifying operations that:
· Burn fossil fuels and/or use GHGs?
· Supply fossil fuels and/or GHGs?
For each such potential source of GHG emissions, has the entity collected appropriate information?
· Fossil fuel and GHG use?
· GHG emissions?
· List of any sources regulated for emissions of GHGs or other air pollutants, and documentation associated with applicable their permits and compliance reports (including part 98 reports from prior years)?
Has the entity identified facilities and individual sources subject to part 98 reporting?
If the entity is a supplier of fossil fuels or specified GHGs, has the entity identified materials streams subject to part 98 reporting?
If the entity is subject to mandatory GHG emission reporting under part 98:
· Has the entity registered with e-GGRT?
· Has the entity identified and monitored emission sources subject to part 98?
· Has the entity collected data, applied required methodologies, and prepared required information?
· Has the entity established required records and record keeping systems?
· Has the entity submitted required GHG emission report(s) for 2021 and/or earlier years?
Where Can I go For More Information?
EPA provides a host of information on its website, including general information, regulatory text and resources for each subpart, and a link to e-GGRT:
- Mandatory GHG Reporting website - https://www.epa.gov/ghgreporting - e-GGRT - https://ghgreporting.epa.gov/ghg/login.do
- FLIGHT portal page - https://ghgdata.epa.gov/ghgp/main.do
About the Author
Jon Elliott is President of Touchstone Environmental and has been a major contributor to STP’s product range for over 30 years. Mr. Elliott has a diverse educational background. In addition to his Juris Doctor (University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1981), he holds a Master of Public Policy (Goldman School of Public Policy [GSPP], UC Berkeley, 1980), and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Princeton University, 1977).
Mr. Elliott is active in professional and community organizations. In addition, he is a past chairman of the Board of Directors of the GSPP Alumni Association, and past member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California's Environmental Law Section (including past chair of its Legislative Committee).
You may contact Mr. Elliott directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org