EPA considers emissions reporting changes to protect confidential “inputs”
Agency tries to appease manufacturers’ desires to keep manufacturing information private
Stephen Barlas, a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va., can be reached at email@example.com.
Anumber of metalworking-related sectors already are required to report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Meanwhile,
other manufacturing companies are fighting
against being forced to take on the same reporting responsibilities.
According to a new proposed rule on GHG emission reporting, more manufacturers will join the
likes of companies that manufacture motor vehicle
parts and that o;er electroplating, plating, polishing, anodizing, and coloring services. ;ey will be
forced to share information that until now they
have kept to themselves.
In July 2010, as part of its GHG emissions reporting rules, EPA proposed that inputs to the emissions equations be classified as emissions data. ;e
Clean Air Act prohibits emissions data from being
protected as confidential business information.
Companies in a number of industries wanted to
be able to keep those inputs private (that is, not
reported to the EPA) and have them classified as
confidential business information. ;ose inputs
could be such things as quantities of metalworking
oils used, for example.
In response, the EPA delayed “inputs” reporting
until March 31, 2015. Now the agency has changed
its tune somewhat with the proposed rule it announced in September. ;e key initiative the EPA
is proposing is to allow companies to use an EPA-provided inputs verification tool.
;e tool would calculate the emissions and perform electronic verification. ;e tool would not retain the entered inputs (the inputs would not be reported to the EPA); instead, the tool would conduct
certain checks (for example, accuracy of the inputs)
at the time of data entry and generate a verification
summary. ;e verification summary, which would
be accessible to the EPA once the annual report is
submitted, would provide the EPA with information
to conduct further verification if necessary.
Manufacturing Advocates Focus
on Currency Manipulation
Here is one thing many Democrats and Republicans in Washington can agree on: Manufacturing
concerns need to be at the center of negotiations
of what is being called a Trans-Pacific Partnership
;e TPP is a free-trade zone that will include perhaps 12 countries heavily centered in the Far East.
Japan became the latest entrant in May, and China
is pushing to become the 13th.
U.S. o;cials hint that a final agreement could be
signed as soon as later this year. ;at is the back-
ground to a letter sent to key administration o;-
cials on Sept. 27 by a bipartisan group of 60 sena-
tors, led by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and
Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., co-chairs of the bipartisan
Senate Manufacturing Caucus.
;e letter urged Secretary of the Treasury Jack
Lew and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman
to address foreign currency manipulation in the
TPP negotiations. TPP countries account for nearly
40 percent of global gross domestic product and
approximately one-third of total world trade. However, until now Froman has cited issues such as tobacco and textiles as the key stumbling blocks to a
final TPP agreement. He has not talked specifically
about manufacturing or currency manipulation by
Japan or any of the other countries in the proposed
Meanwhile, Congress hasn’t forced Froman’s
hand, but it has shown interest in the topic. Graham and Stabenow are among the sponsors of a bill
introduced last June called the Currency Exchange
Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2013. It is sitting in
the Senate Banking Committee.
A similar bill did pass the Senate in 2011 by a vote
of 63-35, but the House never took any action on
it. Unless an exchange rate bill passes Congress, the
TPP will not include the kind of provisions manufacturers want to see.
Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.gov
In July 2010, as part of its GHG emissions
reporting rules, EPA proposed that inputs
to the emissions equations be classified as
emissions data. The Clean Air Act prohibits
emissions data from being protected as
confidential business information.