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May 22 -- The EPA is issuing this supplemental proposal that would amend specific provisions in the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule to improve the quality and consistency of the rule by providing for the collection of improved data that would better inform and be relevant to a wide variety of Clean Air Act provisions that the EPA carries out. The EPA recently evaluated the requirements of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule to identify areas of improvement, including updates to the existing calculation, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements, and requested information for collection of additional data to understand new source categories in a proposed rule (June 21, 2022). In this notification, the EPA is proposing additional amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, including updates to the General Provisions to reflect revised global warming potentials, and is proposing to require reporting of greenhouse gas data from additional sectors—specifically energy consumption; coke calcining; ceramics production; calcium carbide production; and caprolactam, glyoxal, and glyoxylic acid production. The EPA is also proposing additional revisions that would improve implementation of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, such as updates to emissions calculation methodologies; revisions to reporting requirements to improve verification of reported data and the accuracy of the data collected; and other minor technical amendments, corrections, or clarifications. The EPA intends to consider the information received in response to this supplemental proposal prior to finalizing the amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule proposed on June 21, 2022. This action also proposes to establish and amend confidentiality determinations for the reporting of certain data elements to be added or substantially revised in these proposed amendments. Comments must be received on or before July 21, 2023.

In the 2022 Data Quality Improvements Proposal, the EPA proposed amendments to specific provisions of the GHGRP where we identified opportunities for improvement, such as where the rule may be modified to reflect the EPA's current understanding of U.S. GHG emission trends, or to improve data collection and reporting where additional data may be necessary to better understand emissions from specific sectors or inform future policy decisions (87 FR 36920, June 21, 2022). The 2022 Data Quality Improvements Proposal included updates to emission factors and refinements to existing emissions estimation methodologies to reflect an improved understanding of emission sources and end uses of GHGs. Additionally, it proposed to collect additional data to understand new source categories or new emission sources for specific sectors; to improve the EPA's understanding of the sector-specific processes or other factors that influence GHG emission rates; to improve verification of collected data; and to provide additional data to complement or inform other EPA programs. In other cases, we proposed revisions to resolve gaps in the current coverage of the GHGRP that leave out potentially significant sources of GHG emissions or end uses. For example, the proposed revisions included new reporting of direct air capture as a carbon capture option for suppliers of carbon dioxide; addition of a new subpart for quantifying geologic sequestration in association with enhanced oil recovery operations; and an updated calculation methodology to estimate emissions from large, atypical release events at oil and gas facilities. The EPA also proposed revisions that clarify or update provisions that may be unclear, or where we identified specific provisions in part 98 that would streamline calculation, monitoring, or reporting to provide flexibility or increase the efficiency of data collection. Finally, the EPA also solicited comment on expanding the GHGRP to include several new source categories that could improve the EPA's understanding of GHGs, including energy consumption; ceramics production; calcium carbide production; caprolactam, glyoxal, and glyoxylic acid production; coke calcining; and CO2 utilization (see section IV of the 2022 Data Quality Improvements Proposal at 87 FR 37016), as well as requesting comment on potential future amendments to add new calculation, monitoring, and reporting requirements.

As stated in the 2022 Data Quality Improvements Proposal, the data collected under part 98 are used to inform the EPA's understanding of the relative emissions and distribution of emissions from specific industries, the factors that influence GHG emission rates, and to inform policy options and potential regulations. Since publishing the proposed amendments, the EPA has received or identified new information to further improve the data collected under the GHGRP, and has subsequently identified additional amendments that the EPA is putting forward in this supplemental proposal. Some of the additional amendments are informed by a review of comments raised by stakeholders on the 2022 Data Quality Improvements Proposal (e.g., see sections III.J and III.P of this preamble). Other proposed changes are based on additional data gaps the EPA has observed in collected data, either where additional data would improve verification of data reported to the GHGRP (see section II.D of this preamble) or where additional data is needed to help our understanding of changing industry emission trends (see sections II.B and II.C of this preamble). Based on review of this information, the EPA is proposing additional amendments to part 98, described in sections II through IV of this preamble, that build on and improve the amendments proposed in the 2022 Data Quality Improvements Proposal or that would further enhance the quality of part 98 and implementation of the GHGRP.

In some cases, the EPA has identified updated guidance on GHG estimation methods or advances in the scientific literature. For example, through this notification, the EPA is proposing a comprehensive update to the global warming potentials (GWPs) in Table A–1 to subpart A of part 98, in part to ensure that the GWPs used in the GHGRP are consistent with those recently agreed upon by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for purposes of GHG reporting. The Parties specified the agreed-on GWPs in November 2021 (see section III.A.1 of this preamble), which was too late to allow the EPA to consider proposing a comprehensive GWP update in the 2022 Data Quality Improvement Proposal. We have subsequently reviewed and are proposing to include updated GWPs in this proposed rule.

In other cases, we have identified new data supporting additional improvements to the calculation, monitoring, and recordkeeping requirements, including revisions and clarifications not previously proposed, that would address potential data gaps and improve the quality of the data collected in the GHGRP. For example, the EPA is proposing to incorporate additional revisions to the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) landfill source category in light of recent aerial studies that indicate that methane emissions from landfills may be considerably higher than the methane emissions currently reported under subpart HH of part 98 (Municipal Solid Waste Landfills). The proposed amendments incorporate an updated emissions estimation methodology that would improve the accuracy and coverage of the greenhouse gas data from landfills. These data would be used to inform the EPA's understanding of methane emissions from MSW landfills and future policy decisions under the CAA. For example, the current equations account for fugitive methane emissions passing through intact cover systems. Collecting surface emissions data under the proposed revisions would inform the EPA's understanding of the degree to which breakdown in cover materials is occurring and the impacts on methane emission rates.

This supplemental proposal also incorporates consideration of information received in response to our request for comment on certain topics in the 2022 Data Quality Improvement Proposal. In that proposal, we requested comment on potential future amendments to improve the coverage of U.S. GHG emissions and supply captured by the GHGRP. The EPA has reviewed comments received in response to the call for information, along with additional data that the EPA has collected, and is proposing to establish new subparts with specific reporting provisions under part 98 for the source categories of energy consumption; coke calciners; ceramics production; calcium carbide production; and caprolactam, glyoxal, and glyoxylic acid production. The proposed revisions would improve the data collected under the GHGRP by better capturing the changing landscape of greenhouse gas emissions, providing for more complete coverage of U.S. GHG emission sources, and providing a more comprehensive approach to understanding GHG emissions.

For other revisions, we are proposing to clarify or correct specific proposed provisions of the 2022 Data Quality Improvements Proposal. For instance, we are proposing to clarify the applicability requirements of proposed subpart VV of part 98 (Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide With Enhanced Oil Recovery Using ISO 27916), a new subpart for quantifying geologic sequestration in association with enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations, which was included in the 2022 Data Quality Improvements Proposal. Following the initial proposal, we received feedback from stakeholders highlighting ambiguity in the applicability of the proposed source category and questioning whether EOR operators electing to use the International Standards Organization (ISO) standard designated as CSA Group (CSA)/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ISO 27916:2019, Carbon Dioxide Capture, Transportation and Geological Storage—Carbon Dioxide Storage Using Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) (hereafter referred to as “CSA/ANSI ISO 27916:2019”), must mandatorily report under the new proposed subpart VV or would have the option to continue reporting under subpart UU (Injection of Carbon Dioxide). We are proposing the applicability of the source category in this supplemental notification to better reflect our initial intent, which was that operators electing to use CSA/ANSI ISO 27916:2019 to quantify geologic sequestration of CO2 would be required to report under subpart VV, and proposing harmonizing revisions to subpart UU (Injection of Carbon Dioxide). This supplemental proposal provides information about these proposed updates for public review and comment.

This supplemental proposal does not address implementation of provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act which was signed into law on August 16, 2022. Section 60113 of the Inflation Reduction Act amended the CAA by adding section 136, “Methane Emissions and Waste Reduction Incentive Program for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems.” The EPA intends to take one or more separate actions in the coming months related to implementation of the Methane Emissions and Waste Reduction Incentive Program, including a future rulemaking to propose revisions to certain requirements of subpart W of part 98 (Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems). Accordingly, the Methane Emissions and Waste Reduction Incentive Program is outside the scope of this supplemental proposed rule.

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-10047 [96 pages]

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