Tech Environmental e-Newsletter
MASS. GREENHOUSE GAS REGULATIONS TAKE EFFECT
We reported in June 2007 that Massachusetts was developing and implementing greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations, a significant environmental policy change likely to be echoed elsewhere. Those regulations are now being unveiled and put into effect, with a goal of reducing GHG emissions in Massachusetts by 10-25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, using a baseline year of 1990.
MassDEP recently convened stakeholders at the State House to discuss future GHG reporting requirements. The Global Warming Solutions Act that passed into law last August requires that regulations be placed "on the books" by 1/1/09, so a set of "Limited Emergency Regulations" will go into effect almost immediately. These will be followed by "Comprehensive Regulations," expected to take effect by June 2009. These regulations will provide the details that facilities will observe when reporting GHG emissions to MassDEP.
The regulations take a "mandatory reporting" approach, similar to that already used to regulate air quality. The regulations will affect facilities already classified as Title V Facilities under the federal Clean Air Act, as well as those facilities that emit more than 5,000 tons/year of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).
Title V facilities emitting less than 5,000 tons/year of CO2e must only report direct (stack) emissions, while those emitting more than 5,000 tons/year must also report emissions that are indirect, such as vehicle traffic.
These sources will be obligated to report their GHG output on a yearly basis to MassDEP. This reporting will include emissions from stacks, vents, processes, fugitive emissions, and indirect emissions, such as motor vehicle traffic. MassDEP is working to develop simple forms that will allow facilities to determine whether or not they fall under the scope of this regulation, and if so, to calculate their total emissions.
The development of the Comprehensive Regulation is still ongoing. One still-developing aspect of the regulations is a tie-in with a regional climate registry. Massachusetts recently participated in the development of The Climate Registry, a non-profit organization that voices support for "consistent, transparent standards throughout North America." The climate registry is intended to make information available to the public, but it will also hopefully lower policy-implementation costs, while facilitating, simplifying and clarifying registration and data submission processes for the businesses and facilities that must report to it.
Questions that remain with regard to the Massachusetts Comprehensive Regulations include the issues of verification and early action credits. It is still to be determined whether GHG submittals will be approved by a third party, self-certified with MassDEP audits, or whether verification will be limited to certain facilities or purposes. Additionally, it is still unclear whether facilities will earn credit for buying into the system early, or whether this action will amount to little more than "good doobie points." There is also some work to be done to determine methods and practices for regulating retail sellers of electricity.
However, there are a number of action items that facilities can address immediately. Facilities should begin estimating their 2008 emissions from stationary sources, and should collect and maintain records relating to GHG emissions for future use. Facilities should also familiarize themselves with the Climate Registry's General Reporting Protocol.
Tech Environmental urges all interested parties to voice their concerns while the regulatory process is still open for debate. The next stakeholder meeting is scheduled for January 2009; there has also been discussion of breaking up stakeholder summits into industry-specific groups. Additional information on the December meeting can be found on the event page; the presentation from the meeting is also available here, and the draft regulations are also posted online for review. MassDEP's website also offers an overview of the agency's GHG-related efforts.
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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM TECH ENVIRONMENTAL!
As Tech Environmental enters our 25th year in business, we would like to send our warmest holiday greetings to all of our clients and friends.
Thanks for your support in 2008, and we hope for a healthy and happy 2009 for everyone!
OUR LATEST NEWS
In recent months, Tech Environmental has been keeping very busy!
- Some of Tech's more notable recent projects include a greenhouse gas analysis for a transit-oriented development project, a greenhouse gas/CO2 analysis for a condominium project, a noise analysis for a proposed film studio, an in-air noise analysis for an offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, and site-specific odor training for many groups and facilities.
- Tech's President, Peter Guldberg, gave a lecture on the Massachusetts Greenhouse Gas Policy & Protocol at a workshop convened by Law Seminars International.
- VP Mike Lannan made many media (and YouTube) appearances on behalf of Boston developer Corcoran Jennison.
- Our noise consulting work on a wind turbine generation project in Cohasset was in the news.
- Tech's Howard Quin delivered a presentation on "Sound Permitting for Wind Projects" at the Increasing Energy Diversity and Independence Conference in Presque Isle, Maine.
- Tech's Matthew Riegert presented a two-hour primer on the science of odor - or "odour," as they say in Canada - at the OWMA/SWANA Symposium in Toronto.
- To keep up with Tech's latest news, you can check out the News section of our web page.
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