The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reportedly sent a draft rule to the White House for review that would require emitters of greenhouse gases to report their emissions to the EPA. In December of 2007, Democratic Senators added a provision to the Omnibus Spending bill that requires EPA to issue a draft rule for greenhouse gas reporting and to establish a greenhouse gas emission registry in 2008. A draft rule was reported to have been sent to the Bush White House for review last year. The Bush Administration decided to put off the proposal of a draft rule, and to leave that work to the next administration.
In the last couple of days, the EPA has apparently sent a draft rule to the Obama White House for consideration. The rule would likely be an economy-wide reporting system that would establish time tables for industry and other significant greenhouse gas emitters to measure and report their emissions to the EPA. The EPA, in turn would then likely make the emissions levels available on the Internet, much like other emissions and discharges under environmental statutes. This could require not only a significant amount of work for industry to attempt to measure or at least estimate their greenhouse gas emissions, but it would make their emissions publicly available.
The Omnibus Spending bill required EPA to issue the final rule for the greenhouse gas and reporting system this year. This step would lay the ground work for any cap-and-trade system that may be established by Congress, or one established by the Obama Administration under the Clean Air Act.