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November 15, 2010
EPA Finalizes Emissions Reporting Rules for Petroleum and Natural Gas Industry
    by Robert Kropp

Large facilities in the industry will be required to monitor and report all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the EPA.

In September 2009, when US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced reporting requirements for the agency's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Program, she said, "We are not going to continue with business as usual while we wait for Congress to act. We have the tools and the technologies to move forward today, and we are using them."

The program requires facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHGs to submit annual reports to the agency. Facilities will be required to begin monitoring such emissions in 2011, and report on them in March 2012.

In July, the EPA issued reporting requirements for underground coal mines, industrial wastewater treatment systems, industrial waste landfills, and magnesium production facilities, specifically targeting methane emissions, which, the agency said, are "more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere."

Last week, the agency finalized GHG reporting requirements for the petroleum and natural gas industries, which are among the largest sources of methane emissions in the US. According to a
fact sheet issued by the agency, the rules require "petroleum and natural gas facilities to report annual methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from equipment leaks and venting, and emissions of CO2, CH4, and nitrous oxide (N2O) from flaring, onshore production stationary and portable combustion emissions, and combustion emissions from stationary equipment involved in natural gas distribution."

"Facilities that contain petroleum and natural gas systems that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of CO2 equivalent per year in aggregated emissions from all sources are required to report annual GHG emissions," the fact sheet continued. The agency estimates that the reporting requirements will cover 85% of the total emissions from the petroleum and natural gas industry. Very few small companies will be affected by the rule, the agency said.


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