Find a Course

Greenhouse Gas Emission Rule Updates

Posted on January 11, 2011 by James Griffin

With the calendar switching over to 2011, the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is kicking into high gear. Several final rules promulgated in 2009 and 2010 will have obligations for regulated entities in 2011. In the latter days of 2010, the EPA promulgated several final actions, and the EPA is not finished. The Agency is planning more regulations for greenhouse gases in 2011. The following summarizes the latest developments and upcoming obligations for stationary source emissions of greenhouse gases.

Mandatory Annual GHG Emission Reporting (40 CFR Part 98) Stationary sources and suppliers that were included in the initial GHG emission reporting rule (74 FR 56259, October 30, 2009) had to begin monitoring their GHG emissions on January 1, 2010. Reports must be made electronically by March 31, 2011 using EPA’s newly published program “Electronic Greenhouse Gas Reporting Tool” (e-GGRT).

  • January 1, 2011—Additional sources that were added to the Part 98 rules in 2010 (75 FR 39736, July 12, 2010; 75 FR 74458, November 30, 2010; 75 FR 74774, December 1, 2010; 75 FR 75060, December 1, 2010) must begin monitoring their GHG emissions beginning January 1, 2011. Their first report will be submitted on March 31, 2012.
  • January 30, 2011—Stationary sources subject to the March 31, 2011 report must establish an account and submit a Certificate of Representation with e-GGRT. While there is no regulatory deadline for establishing this account, the EPA has stated that facilities will need to submit their Certificate of Representation by January 30, 2011 in order to assure the system will be ready for them to submit a report by the March 31 deadline. For more information on e-GGRT, visit: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/data-reporting-system.html.
  • March 31, 2011—The first reports are due, via e-GGRT, to the EPA by March 31, 2011.
  • August 31, 2011—On December 27, 2010 (75 FR 81337), the EPA promulgated an Interim Final Rule deferring the submission of certain data elements for the 2010 GHG emission reports. The EPA delayed submission while it works out the requirements for confidentiality claims. Facilities must still submit their annual emission report by March 31, 2011, except for the data elements covered in the December 27 rulemaking.
For all Part 98 rulemaking activities, visit: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/notices.html.

PSD and Title V Permitting
When the EPA published its endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions (74 FR 66495, December 15, 2009) and the emission limits for mobile sources (75 FR 25323, May 7, 2010), it automatically triggered the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V permitting requirements for major stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA tailored the PSD and Title V permitting threshold for stationary sources of GHG emissions (75 FR 31514, June 3, 2010). In addition to raising the major source threshold to 100,000 tons per year (TPY) and the major modification threshold to 75,000 TPY, the EPA will be phasing in the permitting as follows:

  • January 2, 2011—Only sources currently subject to the PSD permitting program (i.e., those that are newly constructed or modified in a way that significantly increases emissions of a pollutant other than GHGs) are subject to permitting requirements for their GHG emissions under PSD. For these projects, only GHG increases of 75,000 TPY or more of total GHG, on a carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) basis, need to determine the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for their GHG emissions. Similarly, only sources currently subject to the Title V permit program (i.e., newly constructed or existing major sources for a pollutant other than GHGs) are subject to Title V permitting for GHG.
  • July 1, 2011—PSD permitting will apply to new construction projects that emit GHG emissions of at least 100,000 TPY, even if they do not exceed the permitting thresholds for any other pollutant. Modifications at existing facilities that increase GHG emissions by at least 75,000 TPY will be subject to permitting requirements, even if they do not significantly increase emissions of any other pollutant. Title V permits will apply to sources based on their GHG emissions even if they would not apply based on emissions of any other pollutant. Facilities that emit at least 100,000 TPY CO2e will be subject to Title V permitting for GHG.

Pending Source-Specific Emission Standards
The endangerment finding also set the stage for establishing emission standards for stationary and mobile sources. On December 23, 2010, the EPA announced two settlements with states and environmental groups to establish GHG emission limits for fossil-fuel electric generating facilities and petroleum refineries. The Agency will accomplish this by establishing source-specific emission limits for new and modified covered sources under the Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources regulations [40 CFR Part 60]. The timetable for these emission limits is:

  • Power Plants—A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be published by July 26, 2011. A final rule is to be promulgated by May 26, 2012.
  • Refineries—A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be published by December 15, 2011. A final rule is to be promulgated by November 15, 2012.

For more information on the settlement, visit: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/ghgsettlement.html.

New Clean Air Act Regulations Now Available

A new online course is now available to help environmental engineers, EHS managers, and compliance officers keep their facilities in compliance with the US EPA’s Clean Air Act programs. The Clean Air Act Regulations guides professionals through compliance with Title V permit requirements, emissions and pollution controls, annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting, Risk Management Planning (RMP) responsibilities, and more. 

Build the expertise needed to make informed on-the-job decisions that help your site control pollution and maintain compliance. Interactive, easy to use, and available 24/7, the new online course will help you get up to speed with new and changing EPA clean air rules and protect your facility from costly EPA enforcement.