EPA Rule on Greenhouse Gases References ASTM Standards
October 26, 2009
WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, PA - ASTM International is a primary standards contributor to a recent rule approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on greenhouse gas reporting by large sources and suppliers in the United States.
The final Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule was enacted in response to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008. Under the rule, manufacturers of vehicles and engines and other entities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of greenhouse gas emissions are required to submit annual reports to the EPA.
The following ASTM technical committees have standards referenced in the EPA rule: C01 on Cement; C07 on Lime; D01 on Paint and Related Coatings, Materials and Applications; D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants; D03 on Gaseous Fuels; D05 on Coal and Coke; D20 on Plastics; D22 on Air Quality; E01 on Analytical Chemistry for Metals, Ores and Related Materials; E13 on Molecular Spectroscopy and Separation Science; and E15 on Industrial and Specialty Chemicals.
The standards referenced are test methods and specifications that cover a diverse set of topics – including aviation fuel, water, coal sampling systems and hydraulic cement – and can assist businesses in tracking and reporting their own emissions.
In addition to the standards listed in the EPA rule, ASTM committees are currently working on several proposed new standards related to climate change. These include WK21096, Guide for Disclosures Related to Climate Change Exposures/Risks and WK21808, Guide for Climate Change Assessment and Risk Management. They are both under development by ASTM International Committee E50 on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management and Corrective Action.
The rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2010. First annual reports are to be submitted to the EPA in 2011, covering calendar year 2010.
Gases covered by the rule are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, petrofluorcarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and other fluorinated gases, including nitrogen trifluoride and hydrofluorinated ethers.
The purpose of the EPA’s new reporting system is to provide better understanding of the sources of greenhouse gases, which are produced by burning fossil fuels and through industrial and biological processes. Report data may also identify cost-effective ways to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions.