This rule establishes the mandatory greenhouse gas reporting program for the United States. The rule requires reporting on annual emissions of 8 types of greenhouse gases, including methane, by facilities that emit at least 25,000 t CO2e/yr.
Covered facilities were directed to begin data collection by 1 January 2010, with the first annual report due 31 March 2011. Emissions may be calculated, using reported facility inventories, U.S. EPA emissions factors (although the rule also mentions development of site-specific emissions factors) and process information relevant to emissions estimations. EPA also provides methods for filling in missing data. Facilities must maintain records for three years.
Initially, the rule covered petroleum refineries, coal liquefaction at mine sites, petroleum products, natural gas processing facilities and NGL extraction facilities, but reported emissions were limited to the CO2 emissions from combustion of the product, not methane or other emissions generated during processing or transport. In 2010, the rule was expanded to include fugitive and vented methane emissions from (1) underground coal mines, and (2) onshore and offshore oil and natural gas production facilities, natural gas processing, transmission, storage and distribution facilities, and LNG facilities. These facilities had to begin collecting data in 2011, and begin reporting in 2012. The oil and gas rule identifies sources of emissions in each industry segment, and provides methodologies for calculating emissions. More information is provided in a technical guidance document issued by the EPA.
The U.S. EPA was directed by Congress to write this reporting rule, in the Fiscal Year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (26 December 2007).