EPA rulemaking aims to update GHG reporting requirements

Source: By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The U.S. EPA has published a proposed rule that aims to amend specific provisions in the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, including some provisions related to biogas and ethanol.

The changes are expected to streamline and improve implementation of the rule, improve the quality and consistency of data collected under the rule, and to clarify or provide minor updates to certain provisions that have been subject to questions from reporting entities. According to the EPA, the action also proposes confidentiality determinations for the reporting of certain data elements to the program. In addition, the rulemaking proposes action in response to a petition to reconsider specific aspects of the rule.

Regarding ethanol, the proposed rule aims to require ethanol plants to report if their facility uses a wet milling process or a dry milling process. The EPA said it intends to use the data on the numbers of facilities with wet versus dry milling processes and their respective wastewater characteristics to update assumptions used in the U.S. GHG Inventory, thereby improving the estimates of U.S. emissions from wastewater treatment at ethanol plants. The EPA also intends to update the U.S. GHG Inventory using data on the level of biogas recovery in use at wet milling facilities and dry milling facilities.

Biogas is also addressed under the category of industrial wastewater treatment. According to the proposal, the GHG reporting rule would be amended to include the identification of anaerobic processes used in industrial wastewater treatment systems to treat industrial wastewater and industrial wastewater treatment sludge, provide a unique identifier for each anaerobic process, indicate the average depth in meters of each anaerobic lagoon, and indicate whether biogas generated by each anaerobic process is recovered. Impacted facilities would also provide a description or diagram of the industrial wastewater treatment system, identify the process used, indicate how the processes are related to each other, and provide a unique identifier for each anaerobic process.

Public comments on the proposed rule are being accepted through Feb. 29. Additional information is available on the Federal Register website.