The Environmental Protection Agency has released a public statement saying that it will not revise the previous GHG permitting thresholds under the Clean Air Act. This ruling would retain the focus on large emitters, which account for nearly 70% of the total GHG emissions from stationary sources. Smaller sources will not be required to complete GHG emission inventories, although some may decide to submit voluntary GHG reports.
From the EPA press release:
“Today’s final rule affirms that new facilities with GHG emissions of at least 100,000 tons per year (tpy) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) will continue to be required to obtain Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits. Existing facilities that emit 100,000 tpy of CO2e and make changes increasing the GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tpy of CO2e, must also obtain PSD permits. Facilities that must obtain a PSD permit, to include other regulated pollutants, must also address GHG emission increases of 75,000 tpy or more of CO2e. New and existing sources with GHG emissions above 100,000 tpy CO2e must also obtain operating permits.
EPA’s GHG permitting program follows the same Clean Air Act process that states and industry have followed for decades to help ensure that new or modified facilities are meeting requirements to protect air quality and public health from harmful pollutants. As of May 21, 2012, EPA and state permitting authorities have issued 44 PSD permits addressing GHG emissions. These permits have required new facilities, and existing facilities that make major modifications, to implement energy efficiency measures to reduce their GHG emissions.“
The GHG Tailoring Rule addresses six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
Greenhouse Gas reporting is still a hot topic for air emissions management, and even though smaller facilities are exempt from the final GHG Tailoring Rule, many business owners are choosing to get on board with voluntary GHG reporting and carbon footprint accounting.
And with the growing popularity of sustainability reporting, tracking your GHG emissions is a sound investment, for any business - large or small - that is serious about its environmental performance.
To read the EPA’s fact sheet about the final GHG Tailoring Rule, click here.
About the Author: Alex Chamberlain is a writer and blogger who regularly contributes to ERA Environmental Management Solutions' blog. You can find Alex on Google+, LinkedIn & ERA's Environmental Compliance Blog
(Image credit: CECAR - Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaption R)