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EPA Finalizes Confidentiality Rules for GHG Reports, Defers Some Requirements

The EPA has determined that 10 industries required to report their greenhouse gas emissions will not have to publicly disclose data on composition of materials used in production, supplier and vendor information, or process-specific vendor data.

Industries that can keep that data confidential include electronics manufacturing; petroleum and natural gas systems; electricity transmission and distribution equipment; underground coal mines; industrial wastewater treatment; equipment pre-charged with fluorinated greenhouse gases; geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide; manufacture of electricity transmission and distribution equipment; industrial waste landfills; and injection of carbon dioxide.

Industries will have to report data on their greenhouse gas emissions, throughputs and outputs, and relevant unit and process characteristics as well as calculation and calibration test methods. The final rule will take effect Sept. 12, 2012.

The EPA did not finalize confidentiality determinations for electronics manufacturers that would disclose recipe-specific data; or for six data elements for equipment pre-charged with fluorinated greenhouse gases, which would reveal the date of import or export.

The EPA also deferred the requirement for petroleum and natural gas systems, underground coal mines and industrial waste landfills to report certain data they use to determine their greenhouse gas emissions. The deferral will give the agency more time to determine whether publicly disclosing that information could cause competitive harm to the industries, the EPA said.

The final rule defers until March 31, 2015 the requirement for oil and natural gas companies to report 10 inputs used to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions. The inputs include the annual amount of carbon dioxide recovered by acid gas removal units and transferred outside the facility, greenhouse gas emissions from wellhead gas-liquid separators with oil throughout greater than or equal to 10 barrels per day, and emissions from wells with oil production greater than or equal to 10 barrels per day.

The EPA also deferred requirements for industrial waste landfills to report the methane correction factor used in their emissions and for underground coal mines to report the moisture content and gaseous organic concentration factor used in their emissions calculations, until March 31, 2013.

Last month, the EPA postponed finalizing standards for cooling water intake structures at industrial facilities, marking the third time this summer the Obama Administration has delayed or softened proposed standards that affect the industrial sector.

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