10 March 2009 18:05 [Source: ICIS news]
(Adds clarification paragraphs 1, 5; EPA comments paragraph 6; ACC comments paragraphs 7-9)
The system would cover 13,000 facilities, including industrial chemical producers, motor vehicle manufacturers and any business emitting more than 25,000 tonnes/year of greenhouse gases. That level would preclude most small businesses while accounting for up to 90% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, the agency said.
“Our efforts to confront climate change must be guided by the best possible information,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement. “Through this new reporting, we will have comprehensive and accurate data about the production of greenhouse gases.”
The agency estimated the cost of compliance for the private sector at $160m (€126m) for the first year and $127m for each subsequent year. The first reports would be submitted in 2011.
The Obama administration has been vocal on setting limits to greenhouse gas emissions and possibly declaring carbon dioxide (CO2) a pollutant. According to an internal agency document obtained by the environmental news agency Greenwire, the EPA plans on 16 April to issue a finding that global warming threatens public health.
EPA spokesman Allyn Brooks-LaSure declined to comment on the state of the endangerment finding, calling the leaked document a “draft”.
American Chemistry Council (ACC) spokeswoman Jennifer Scott said her organisation generally supported a national emissions reporting system but was still reviewing the specifics of the EPA’s proposal.
“We will look for elements that can help drive a successful program, including ease of administration and implementation, broad applicability across the entire economy, reporting thresholds, consistency with other reporting rules, and others,” Scott said.
The ACC has fought the inclusion of CO2 as a greenhouse gas, however, saying last week that regulating it would erode the US manufacturing sector.
Josh Dorner, spokesman for environmental group the Sierra Club, said an emissions measuring system would be a good “first step” to creating climate control legislation in the US.
“A registry and reporting system is a first step to start capping and reducing global warming pollutions. It’s a time-consuming step to take, but it’s good to do it now to give the new administration and Congress breathing room to put something on the table,” he said.
($1 = €0.79)
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