NJDEP Proposes Greenhouse Gas Monitoring and Reporting Program

May 8, 2009
by BRYAN FRANEY
Client Alert Newsletter May 2009

On January 20, 2009, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("NJDEP") published a proposed rule that would require the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions ("GHGs") by certain manufacturers and distributors of fossil fuels, gas public utilities, and other significant emitters of GHGs. The proposed rule was mandated by the Global Warming Response Act of 2007, which requires NJDEP to implement a program to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent less than 2006 levels by 2050.

The proposed reporting requirements would be implemented using three existing reporting mechanisms. First, the proposed rule would amend New Jersey's Air Pollution Control rules to require stationary sources that have the potential to emit certain threshold quantities of GHGs (other than carbon dioxide) to report those emissions on Emissions Statements. By way of example, the proposed reporting threshold for methane is 100 tons per year. NJDEP anticipates that this threshold will require Emission Statements from facilities not required to submit Emission Statements under existing rules such as landfills and wastewater treatment facilities. Similarly, the proposed thresholds for refrigerants will likely require Emission Statements from facilities with refrigeration equipment such as chillers, retail food refrigeration and cold storage warehouses which may not be required to submit Emission Statements under existing rules.

Second, the proposed rule would require prime suppliers of fossil fuel, gas public utilities, and natural gas pipeline operators ("greenhouse gas survey reporters") to report their sales of fossil fuel as part of their Community Right-to-Know Survey ("CRTK") requirements. These entities are already subject to certain reporting requirements under the CRTK rules. NJDEP will use the sales information to calculate the quantities of GHGs released from that fuel.

Third, the proposed rule would require facilities that store hydrofluorocarbons, perfluororcarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, ethers and halogenated ethers in quantities equal to or greater than 50 pounds ("significant emitters of greenhouse gases") to report such storage on CRTK surveys. Like the "greenhouse gas survey reporters," such "significant emitters of greenhouse gases" are already subject to CRTK rules and may be subject to other substantive reporting requirements under those rules.

The proposed reporting requirements will be used by NJDEP to prepare biennial reports summarizing New Jersey’s progress towards compliance with the 2020 and 2050 emission limits and to develop strategies, measures and recommendations for meeting the 2020 and 2050 limits. The 60-day comment period on the proposed reporting rule closed on March 21, 2009.