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EPA releases initial GHG figures from large industrial plants

The US Environmental Protection Agency released its first greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data from major US industrial plants, covering more than 3 billion tonnes equivalent of measured carbon dioxide releases from 6,210 facilities and certain fossil fuel suppliers during 2010. The data included 100 facilities that reported more than 7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MMtCO2-e) emissions each, EPA said on Jan. 11.

The agency said of that group, 96 power plants were the largest stationary emissions source with 2,324 MMtCO2-e, or 73% of the total, followed by 2 refineries with 183 MMtCO2-e, or 6%, and 2 iron and steel mills. CO2 accounted for the largest share of direct emissions (95%), followed by methane with 4%, and nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases representing the remaining 1%, EPA said.

“The GHG Reporting Program data provides a critical tool for businesses and other innovators to find cost and fuel-saving efficiencies that reduce [GHG] emissions, and foster technologies to protect public health and the environment,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

But an American Petroleum Institute official argued that the data demonstrate there is no justification for imposing new GHG New Source Performance Standards on refineries. “[They] continue to comprise a small fraction of the national [GHG] inventory and are already one of the most regulated industries in America,” API Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director Howard Feldman said. “Air quality continues to improve and we're doing our part.”

In addition to GHG measurements from 145 refineries, the database lists emissions from several major and independent oil and gas producers onshore and offshore sites, natural gas pipelines and gathering systems, gas processing plants, and petrochemical installations.

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