Food plants exempt from new G.H.G. reporting system

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — Starting Jan. 1, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will require large emitters of heat-trapping emissions to begin collecting greenhouse gas (G.H.G.) data under a new reporting system. Approximately 85% of the nation’s G.H.G. emissions apply to roughly 10,000 facilities, but food production facilities were granted an exemption from reporting.

Lisa P. Jackson, E.P.A. administrator, said for the first time the U.S. will finally gain critically important G.H.G. knowledge that will help determine how best to reduce such emissions.

E.P.A.’s new reporting system will provide a better understanding of where G.H.G.s are coming from and will guide development of the best possible policies and programs to reduce emissions, the agency stated. The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities and provide assistance in identifying cost-effective ways to reduce emissions in the future. E.P.A. claims this comprehensive nationwide-emissions data will help in the fight against climate change.

Burning fossil fuels, as well as industrial and biological processes, create Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. Fossil fuel and industrial G.H.G. suppliers, motor vehicle and engine manufacturers and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of CO2 equivalent per year will be required to report G.H.G. emissions data to E.P.A. annually. This threshold is equivalent to about the annual G.H.G. emissions from 4,600 passenger vehicles.

Initial annual reports for the largest emitting facilities, covering calendar year 2010, will be submitted in 2011 to E.P.A. Vehicle and engine manufacturers outside of the light-duty sector will begin phasing in G.H.G. reporting with model year 2011. Some source categories included in the proposed rule are still under review.

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