EPA Proposes Greenhouse Gas Emission Collection

March 10, 2009 07:00 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Livestock producers, ethanol plants would be included

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

EPA to pursue collection of greenhouse gas emission data, including potentially U.S. livestock feedlots. The proposal would allow the federal agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and pave the way for creating a national carbon cap-and-trade system. Under the rule, expected to be approved by year's end, companies would start tracking their emissions next year. "It's a very important step as we're moving forward to deal with climate change," says Dina Kruger, director of EPA's climate change division. The agency’s action follows a directive passed by Congress in 2007 for a detailed inventory of the emissions that scientists say contribute to global warmin

The EPA said its proposed system would cover 13,000 facilities. Refineries, automobile manufacturers, power plants, ethanol plants, coal mines and large manure ponds at farms all would have to report to the government emissions of at least six different gases. Together, these facilities account for about 85% to 90% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions, EPA said.

The "vast majority of small businesses" are unaffected, EPA said.

As for what the threshold is for reporting by livestock operations, the proposal states it applies to "manure management systems that emit CH4 and N2O in amounts equivalent to 25,000 metric tons CO2e or more per year."

Source: Where emissions come from in America. (Source: Robert A. Rohde)

The regulation would collect emissions information from individual facilities that emit 25,000 tons or more of greenhouse gases each year -- or the pollution of more than 4,500 cars. EPA said the Clean Air Act gives it the authority to develop the new emissions reporting program.

Under the proposal, businesses that have to comply would submit their first annual reports to the EPA in 2011 – the reports would contain data from calendar year 2010. First reports from car and engine makers would cover model year 2011.

The reporting requirements would cost the affected industries about $160 million in the first year, and the amount is expected to fall to $127 million per year thereafter, the EPA estimated. The public has 60 days to comment on the EPA proposal.

Comments: It's not clear exactly how many livestock operations will be affected by the EPA proposal. That will have a major say in just how far-reaching this proposal would be in terms of its impact on U.S. livestock producers.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


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