As the debate continues as to how best to regulate greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions, it is now clear that those emissions for the first time must be measured and reported by many sources. On September 22, 2009 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") issued a final rule establishing the first comprehensive national GHG emissions reporting system. This system requires approximately 10,000 facilities (representing 85% of the GHGs emitted in the United States) to report their emissions of GHGs, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons and certain other gases. The rule imposes new requirements on a number of industrial sectors, including fossil fuel suppliers, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and cement, iron and steel producers, as well as other facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. The rule is not expected to affect most small businesses.
Facilities subject to the rule are generally required to begin collecting data in January 2010 and reporting data in March 2011, with vehicle and engine manufacturers required to phase in reporting for model year 2011. The information is expected to be used in connection with establishing future, and likely costly, limitations on GHG emissions, which are currently anticipated to be required either by the EPA under the Clean Air Act or through new federal legislation currently being considered by Congress.