The US EPA is rushing to have its GHG reporting rule finalized and in effect by January 1, 2010. Because of the short deadlines set by President Bush in the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764; Public Law 110–161), comments on the proposed Rule are due by June 9, and the Rule is expected to come into effect in November so that reporting can begin January 1. The Rule is being adopted under the US Clean Air Act. It will require reporting by most US generators capable of emitting more than 25,000 tons of CO2/year. (In Canada, only the largest generators report, those emitting more than 100,000 tons per year.)
GHG reporting will be done on a facility basis, with limited exceptions (e.g. fuel importers). There will be approximately 13,000 reporting entities, including about 50 of the very largest agribusiness farms, a subject that has drawn a disproportionate level of comment. Reports will be based upon a combination of direct measurement and facility level estimates. All information will be reported directly to EPA, although third-party verification may be permitted in later years. Most entities will report annually. The first reports will be due to the EPA by March 31, 2011. The program is expected to cost $168 million in its first year.
Meanwhile, after weeks of negotiation, amendments to the proposed American Clean Energy Security Act were released by the chair of the House Energy Committee, Rep. Waxman, last Friday. The Bill is much less ambitious than President Obama had called for while campaigning. The cap and trade program would now be designed to reduce US GHG emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Renewable energy (15%) and energy conservation (5%) will still be expected to meet 20% of US energy demand by 2020. However, 85% of the 4.6 billion emission allowances will be allocated free of charge to existing emitters during the early years; Obama had called for 100% auctioning of allowances, which would have forced a much faster pace of change.
Full committee markup of the Bill begins today and will be very hard-fought.