Looming US EPA Deadline to Install Monitoring Equipment for Mandatory GHG Reporting

The publication on Friday October 30, 2009, in the Federal Register of the US EPA’s final rule on mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions has started a process that affects nearly 10,000 facilities in the United States representing approximately 85% of the country’s CO2 emissions. Beginning January 1, 2010, all covered facilities must begin collecting data on their greenhouse gas emissions. Most will have until March 31, 2011, to finalize their inventory numbers and report to US EPA. However, those facilities that already are required to submit year-round reports to US EPA under the Clean Air Act will continue to report quarterly CO2 emissions by the deadlines prescribed for the Acid Rain Program.

An even earlier deadline faces covered facilities that need extensions beyond March 31, 2010, to install monitoring devices that meet the requirements of the regulation. In general, the monitoring methods prescribed in the regulation must be used beginning no later than April 1, 2010. During the first quarter of 2010, EPA allows the use of “best available methods” to give facilities time to meet the standards prescribed in the regulation. EPA recognizes, however, that not every facility will be able to comply with prescribed monitoring methods by April 1.

Therefore facilities may request extensions for the installation of needed monitoring equipment as long as they are filed within 30 days of the effective date of the regulation. Since the regulation was published on October 30 and becomes effective 60 days later, on December 29, the deadline for submitting an application for extension is January 28, 2010.

Each request for an extension must include the following information:

• A list of specific item of monitoring instrumentation for which the request is being made and the locations where each piece of monitoring instrumentation will be installed.
• Identification of the specific rule requirements (by rule subpart, section, and paragraph numbers) for which the instrumentation is needed.
• A description of the reasons why the needed equipment could not be obtained and installed before April 1, 2010.
• If the reason for the extension is that the equipment cannot be purchased and delivered by April 1, 2010, include supporting documentation such as the date the monitoring equipment was ordered, investigation of alternative suppliers and the dates by which alternative vendors promised delivery, backorder notices or unexpected delays, descriptions of actions taken to expedite delivery, and the current expected date of delivery.
• If the reason for the extension is that the equipment cannot be installed without a process unit shutdown, include supporting documentation demonstrating that it is not practicable to isolate the equipment and install the monitoring instrument without a full process unit shutdown. Include the date of the most recent process unit shutdown, the frequency of shutdowns for this process unit, and the date of the next planned shutdown during which the monitoring equipment can be installed. If there has been a shutdown or if there is a planned process unit shutdown between promulgation of this part and April 1, 2010, include a justification of why the equipment could not be obtained and installed during that shutdown.
• A description of the specific actions the facility will take to obtain and install the equipment as soon as reasonably feasible and the expected date by which the equipment will be installed and operating.

Facility owners or operators must demonstrate to EPA’s satisfaction that it is not reasonably feasible to acquire, install, and operate a required piece of monitoring equipment by April 1, 2010. The use of best available methods will not be approved beyond December 31, 2010.

Preparation of the request for extension should begin well before the January 28 deadline, given the amount of technical information that EPA is requesting.

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