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Last year the EPA implemented new regulations entitled "Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases." The new regulations called for certain facilities emitting 25,000 metric tons or more per year of specified GHG's to provide an annual report of their actual GHG emissions.
It is estimated that more than 10,000 facilities in the US meet the criteria for mandated reporting of greenhouse gases. A full description of the EPA mandate can be found on the EPA's web site.
The EPA's reporting mandate comes in response to the goal of reducing warming gases in the atmosphere to address the consequences of global warming.
The EPA says the present objective of the mandate is simple reporting and is not about regulating the reduction of GHG at this time, although bloggers and industry pundits speculate this is likely the next step. It's doesn't require a stretch of logic to anticipate the data collected will frame new regulations to curb the release of GHG in response to domestic and international pressure to slow the rate of global warming.
The EPA's initial mandate in October of 2009 required 31 industry sectors that collectively equal 85 percent of US GHG emissions, to track and report their emissions. In addition to these original 31 industries, the agency in March of this year proposed to collect emissions data from the petroleum and natural gas sector, as well as from industries that emit fluorinated gases and from facilities that inject and store carbon dioxide underground for the purposes of geologic sequestration for enhanced oil and gas recovery.
Methane is the primary GHG emitted from oil and natural gas systems and is more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere, while fluorinated gases are even stronger and can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years. The EPA says the data collected will allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities, and identify cost effective ways to reduce their emissions in the future.