In a surprising action, EPA announced today that it was extending the March 31 deadline for sources to submit their initial report of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 2010 until some undetermined date later this year. EPA explained its proposed online reporting platform was not yet operational and that it needed additional time to complete the construction of the platform and allow for testing by reporting sources. EPA expects to complete this work by late summer and announce a new deadline at that time.
Although some delay was anticipated due to problems with the reporting platform, the open ended deferral is a stunning change by EPA. Congress specifically authorized GHG reporting in 2008 and EPA imposed the requirement as its first step in its ambitious program to control GHG emissions. The information taken from these reports was intended to further EPA’s GHG agenda by identifying significant GHG emitters and allowing EPA to further refine its future regulatory focus. The open ended deferral and the prosaic reason for the delay may provide further ammunition for EPA’s opponents in Congress regarding EPA’s readiness and ability to regulate GHGs.
EPA stated it will be issuing further announcements on this issue which will need to include a Federal Register notice to suspend the current deadline officially. In the meantime, EPA has not suspended any other part of the GHG reporting program and sources must continue to gather their 2011 data.
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