EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed the Final Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule today in efforts to better monitor the emission of greenhouse gases across the country. The final rule will require for fossil fuel suppliers, vehicle and engine manufacturers, and facilities that emit over 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually to report their emissions to the EPA.
Starting in January 2010, some 10,000 facilities across the country will begin their emissions reporting for the first time, accounting for roughly 85% of American greenhouse gas emissions. The new rule is targeted at large manufacturers and facilities that do most of our polluting, and Administrator Jackson reported that the majority of small businesses will be exempt from this rule. In statement released by the EPA today, this will account for the equivalent of emissions by 4,600 motor vehicles annually.
Though the rule imposes requirements on major industries to monitor and report their own greenhouse gas emissions, there has already been support for the rule from that community. Three major industry groups””the Edison Electric Institute, the American Petroleum Institute, and the American Chemistry Council””have commended the EPA for issuing a reporting rule that they believe is more flexible than the EPA’s initial proposal.
Yet the new requirements are not receiving universal approval. Sen. Murkowski (R-AL) is in the process of drafting an amendment that would remove the EPA’s jurisdiction over monitoring stationary carbon emitting sources. In response, Administrator Jackson and White House energy and climate advisor Carol Browner have criticized such an amendment, stating that it would have negative impacts on industrial development and on appropriations processes.
With this new reporting rule, the government will now have its first comprehensive monitoring system that can track greenhouse gas emissions across the country. Should the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions ever be federally mandated, the EPA will now have an established system””one ripe with specific data on key emitters””to serve as a regulatory body.
Various congressional committees met this summer to discuss how exactly carbon emissions would regulated should a version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act pass in the Senate. Would they be monitored by the EPA? The Department of Agriculture? The Department of the Interior? While a truly comprehensive and efficient system would most likely require the convergence of several offices within the Administration, the new rule established by the EPA may serve a framework for such potential regulatory collectivization.
As the EPA’s final rule monitors only stationary sources of carbon emissions, it will be interesting to watch how the drafted Murkowski amendment plays out in the Senate (see “Lisa Murkowski proposes to fiddle while Alaska burns“).