- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The federal government wants to require companies for the first time to disclose the amount of greenhouse gases they’re releasing into the atmosphere.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed mandatory reporting of the gases blamed for global warming from approximately 13,000 facilities nationwide. The regulation would cover companies that either release large amounts of greenhouse gases directly or produce or import fuels and chemicals that emit heat-trapping gases when burned.

Refineries, automobile manufacturers, power plants, coal mines and large manure ponds at farms all would have to report to the government emissions of at least six different gases.

Together, these facilities account for about 85 percent to 90 percent of the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions, the EPA said.

“Our efforts to confront climate change must be guided by the best possible information,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement announcing the proposed regulation.

Companies would have to start collecting data on their 2010 emissions. The EPA estimates the registry would cost a total of $127 million a year.

The EPA currently requires reporting of greenhouse gases only from power plants. It also releases an annual inventory that estimates greenhouse-gas emissions from broad categories, such as transportation and electricity production.

The regulation proposed Tuesday would collect emissions information from individual facilities that emit 25,000 tons or more of greenhouse gases each year - or the pollution of more than 4,500 cars.

The EPA is taking steps toward controlling greenhouse gases using the Clean Air Act. The agency is expected to issue a finding in mid-April that greenhouse gases pose risks to human health and welfare, a determination that would compel it to reduce emissions under the law, according to a congressional aide briefed on an internal planning document.

The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agency’s plans are not supposed to be disclosed.

Congress is also drafting legislation to limit the pollution.

“These emissions-reporting rules are a welcome foundation for any serious program to curb global-warming pollution,” said David Doniger, climate-policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

The Bush administration had failed to meet a deadline set by a 2007 law for drafting the emissions-reporting rule. It was due in September.

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