States Leading on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulation

May 1, 2009
Despite the introduction of numerous bills related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction in the U.S. Congress, there currently is no federal requirement to report GHG emissions. So, 18 states have taken the lead on reporting.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a draft regulation to create a registry for reporting greenhouse gas emissions. This draft rule currently is under review by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

In the meantime, states have not waited for federal mandates to be passed. As of November 2008, 18 states have imposed mandatory reporting of GHG emissions. Entities mandated to report under state requirements typically are those determined based on GHG emissions thresholds; entities reporting air emissions under other programs; and certain types of entities, such as electricity generators, cement plants or petroleum refineries.

The states that now have mandatory GHG emission reporting requirements include: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Vermont. All of these states are members of The Climate Registry (TCR), except for West Virginia, which has developed its own registry for reporting GHG emissions.

An additional 23 states have encouraged voluntary GHG emission and have joined TCR. Nine remaining states (Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas) have no policy for voluntary or mandatory GHG emission reporting. In Texas, a voluntary GHG registry was requested by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission in 2002, but has not been developed.

Specific information on some of the mandatory GHG emission reporting state programs is provided here:


The California Air Resources Board's regulation on GHG reporting was developed pursuant to the requirement of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also know as Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32). The regulatory requirements apply to the operators of various entities located in California, including certain general stationary combustion facilities, cement plants, petroleum refineries, hydrogen plants, electricity generating facilities, cogeneration facilities and retailers and marketers of electric power.

The California regulatory requirements require covered entities to submit a report of GHG emissions for calendar year 2008 based on best available methods. Starting with calendar year 2009, covered entities will be required to submit verified GHG emission inventories that meet all of the specifications of the regulation.

Detailed guidance describing methods for developing GHG emissions inventories is available at


In June 2008, Florida's Gov. Charlie Crist signed legislation (HB 7135) creating Florida Statute 403.44, the “Florida Climate Protection Act.” The law requires Florida's electric utilities to report their emission to TCR and authorized the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt rules for a cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions from electric utilities. A final rule on a cap-and-trade program is due in January 2010.

Florida is considering joining a regional cap-and-trade program, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and is advocating for a federal program.


On April 27, 2007, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver signed SF 485, which directs the Department of Natural Resources to establish a method for collecting data from producers of GHGs regarding generated GHG emissions. The data, which is mandatory, will feed into the state's GHG inventory.


The New Mexico Environment Improvement Board issued regulatory requirements for GHG emissions that mandate reporting beginning with calendar year 2008. The reporting requirements are included in the new regulation Title 20, Chapter 2, Part 87 (20.2.87) and amended regulations 20.2.2 and 20.2.73. The sources required to report GHG emissions under these regulations include:

  • Electrical generating facilities with nameplate capacities ≥25 megawatts
  • Petroleum refining facilities
  • Cement manufacturing facilities
  • Title V sources subject to 20.2.73

New Mexico provides Emissions Quantification Procedures that describe the requirements for mandatory GHG emissions reporting from specific types of facilities, applicable calculation methods and emissions factors.

GHG emissions reporting may be accomplished (1) by including the information with the facility's criteria pollutant emission inventory; (2) using the state's Web-based GHG reporting tool; or (3) by making the data reported to TCR or California Climate Action Registry available to the New Mexico Environment Department.


Facilities in North Carolina holding a Title V permit are required to report their GHG emissions for calendar year 2008 in their regular emission inventory due June 30, 2009. The emissions inventory must include emissions of the six Kyoto gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, perfluorocarbons [PFCs] and hydrofluorocarbons [HFCs]). For facilities reporting to programs such as TCR or EPA Climate Leaders, both direct and indirect emissions from these submissions are to be reported in their emissions inventory.

The North Carolina Department of Air Quality (DAQ) has developed guideline documents for several GHG sources. For emission sources for which a DAQ guideline has not yet been finalized, facilities are encouraged to use protocols such as those developed by TCR, EPA Climate Leaders or the GHG Initiative.


During 2008, the Washington state legislature passed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Bill (HB 2815) that requires the Department of Ecology to develop a system for mandatory GHG emission reporting. The system will require facilities to report if their annual GHG emissions are greater than or equal to the following thresholds:

  • ≥10,000 metric tons from stationary and mobile sources
  • ≥2,500 metric tons from on-road motor vehicles

The Washington Department of Ecology currently is working on developing a reporting process. Entities that meet the criteria will be required to report their 2009 GHG emissions in 2010.


In 2007, West Virginia passed SB 337, requiring mandatory GHG reporting for sources already reporting air emissions under other programs. Entities report GHG emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, PFCs and HFCs. SB 337 also required establishing a registry for reporting voluntary reductions of GHG emissions if the reductions are made before they are required by law, and will include the development of criteria for establishing baseline emissions, quantifying emission reductions and providing public recognition of reductions.


Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter NR438 requires facilities emitting more than 100,000 tons/year of carbon dioxide to report emissions to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Facilities covered by RGGI must monitor and report carbon emission to demonstrate compliance with the mandatory cap-and-trade program.

RGGI is a cooperative effort among 10 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) to reduce GHG from fossil fuel-powered electric power plants 25 megawatts or greater in size. The compliance period for this program began in January 2009.

More information about RGGI is available at


A federal regulatory requirement for mandatory GHG emissions reporting was required by the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations bill (Pub. L. No. 110-161) by inclusion of the following provision:

“Of the funds provided in the Environmental Programs and Management account, not less than $3,500,000 shall be provided for activities to develop and publish a draft rule not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and a final rule not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, to require mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions above appropriate thresholds in all sectors of the economy of the United States.”

The deadline for submitting the draft rule was Sept. 26, 2008. EPA submitted the draft rule to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on Oct. 24, 2008. It was withdrawn for review by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

On March 10, 2008, a proposed GHG emissions reporting rule that would apply to large sources was signed by the EPA administrator. It would require suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions to submit annual reports to EPA. Reporting would require most covered entities to submit their first annual report in 2011 for the calendar year of 2010. The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The appropriations bill requires that a final rule be issued by June 26, 2009.

Although many entities may look forward to a federal rule that provides consistent requirements across the United States, states still may impose their own more stringent requirements. Additionally, future carbon trading schemes may impose even stricter requirements for reporting.

Although we will soon know what the federal government will require, this may only serve as the floor for future reporting of GHG emissions.

Lisa Barnes is with Bureau Veritas North America. For information about Bureau Veritas' climate change services, contact her at 303-218-3507 or [email protected].

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