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In addition to the 31 industries required by the agency's October 2009 decision to monitor their GHG emissions, the agency is now proposing to collect emissions data from the oil and natural gas sector, industries that emit fluorinated gases, and from facilities that inject and store CO2 underground for the purposes of geologic sequestration, or enhanced oil and gas recovery.
Under these proposals, newly covered sources would begin collecting emissions data on Jan. 1, 2011, with the first annual reports submitted to the agency on March 31, 2012.
The agency noted that the data will be made public, so that businesses can track their own emissions against similar facilities. While the agency noted this as an opportunity to define best practices, the effect also could be to provide a green marketing edge for like companies with lower emissions. The EPA is also proposing to require all facilities in the reporting system, including those just proposed, to provide information on their corporate ownership.
According to the EPA, methane is the primary GHG emitted from oil and natural gas systems and is more than 20 times as potent as CO2 at warming the atmosphere, while fluorinated gases are even stronger and can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
The agency noted in its press release that data collected from facilities underground injection/sequestration facilities could lead to a federal monitoring strategy for detecting potential emissions to the atmosphere.
"Gathering this information is the first step toward reducing greenhouse emissions and fostering innovative technologies for the clean energy future," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "It's especially important to track potent gases like methane, which traps more than 20 times as much heat as carbon and accelerates climate change. Once we know where we must act, American innovators and entrepreneurs can develop new technologies to protect our atmosphere and fight climate change."
These proposals will be open for public comment for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The agency also will hold public hearings on these proposals on April 19, 2010 in Arlington, Va. and April 20, 2010 in Washington, D.C.