By Jamie Godbold, Senior Project Manager Baton Rouge Office
If you own or operate natural gas processing facilities, don’t forget to prepare and submit Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Reports in 2023!
Per a November 24, 2021 final rule (86 FR 66953) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), natural gas processing facilities, also known as natural gas liquid extraction facilities, that receive and refine natural gas are now a listed industrial sector covered by the EPA’s TRI program regulated under 40 CFR Part 372. Under this new rule, natural gas processing (NGP) facilities that meet the following criteria are potentially subject to TRI reporting:
- Facility operates under SIC code 1321 (NAICS code 211130),
- Facility employs 10 or more full-time employees (or equivalent), and
- Facility manufactures, processes, or otherwise uses at least one TRI chemical above threshold quantities.
While TRI has historically applied to natural gas processing facilities that primarily recover sulfur from natural gas (i.e., SIC code 2819), the 2021 final rule expands that coverage to include all natural gas processing facilities. The 2021 rule was issued by the EPA following a 2012 petition by the Environmental Integrity Project and 16 other petitioners which attempted to extend the scope of the TRI program to include the entirety of Oil and Gas Extraction sector (SIC code 13). In EPA’s 2015 response to the 2012 petition, EPA agreed to extend TRI coverage to the Natural Gas Liquids subsector (SIC 1321) but denied extending coverage to the Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas, Drilling Oil and Gas Wells, Oil and Gas Field Exploration Services, and Oil and Gas Field Services, Not Elsewhere Classified subsectors (SIC codes 1311, 1381, 1382, and 1389, respectively) which comprise the remainder of SIC code 13.
According to the Federal Register for the 2021 rule amendment, “EPA is adding this industry sector to the EPCRA section 313 list because doing so will meaningfully increase the information available to the public on releases and other waste management of listed chemicals from the NGP sector and further the purposes of EPCRA section 313. In total, there are approximately 1.4 million people living within three miles of at least one of the NGP facilities EPA identified. As detailed in Unit IV.C. of this notice, some NGP facilities are located in communities where there are potential Environmental Justice considerations.”
As noted by the EPA (https://www.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/addition-natural-gas-processing-facilities-toxics-release), natural gas processing facilities handle over 21 TRI-covered chemicals with at least 321 natural gas processing facilities in the United States meeting the TRI reporting criteria. Qualifying facilities now subject to TRI as a result of this final rule must prepare reports for the 2022 calendar year and beyond, with their first reports due on July 1, 2023.
The process of gathering and quantifying data necessary for TRI reporting can be cumbersome and time-consuming. PPM recommends that facilities start their efforts early to ensure that reports are submitted by the July 1, 2023 reporting deadline. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
PPM Consultants specializes in TRI applicability determinations as well as the preparation and submittal of TRI reports. For more information or assistance, please contact me at email@example.com.