"U.S. EPA's plan to give businesses another three years to show how they calculate their greenhouse gas emissions will weaken the agency's new reporting requirements and could be illegal, environmental groups said before yesterday's deadline to comment on the proposal.
Under the new reporting program, which was ordered by Congress in 2007, the largest pollution sources now have to gather data on their greenhouse gas emissions and make it available to the public. Most of the highest-emitting industrial plants had to start collecting the information with the 2010 calendar year and will need to submit their first annual reports later this year.
The goal is to determine the carbon footprint of each large facility, as part of a federal effort to figure out who is contributing how much to the nation's inventory of greenhouse gas emissions.
But a proposed rule released in December would spare companies from providing much of the underlying data until they send in their greenhouse gas emissions reports for the 2013 calendar year in March 2014. Citing concerns from the Federal Trade Commission and business groups, which said the data could reveal valuable trade secrets, EPA said the deferral would give officials enough time to decide whether the information should be confidential."