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EPA to Large Emitters: Start Collecting GHG Data Jan. 1

smoke air pollution2Large emitters of greenhouse gases will have to begin collecting their emissions data Jan. 1 under the new reporting system from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The program will apply to about 10,000 facilities that emit about 85 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases, said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, in her Sept. 22 announcement about the deadline.

The reporting system may play a role in any eventual cap-and-trade system adopted by the U.S.

The largest emitters will have to submit annual reports of their emissions, starting in 2011, with information from the 2010 calendar year.

Vehicle and engine manufacturers are getting a one-year reprieve. They don’t have to start reporting until model year 2011.

For a list of reporting requirements, click here.

The Environmental Defense Fund was quick in its praise for EPA’s move.

“The public has both a need and a right to know about the country’s biggest emitters,” said Mark MacLeod, director of special projects at Environmental Defense Fund. “The transparency provided today will inform smart policy that targets the biggest sources of heat-trapping emissions.”

Increasingly, the EPA has threatened to declare carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant as a stick to help push climate-change legislation.

However, if the EPA draft ruling declaring carbon dioxide a pollutant goes through as written, it would regulate emissions only from large industrial sources.

EPA’s new take on the “endangerment finding” would be 100 times less strict than the current rule under the Clean Air Act, which calls for facilities emitting more than 250 tons annually of a regulated pollutant to install the “best available” control technologies.

Instead, EPA is proposing to regulate only facilities emitting more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

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