The Combined Air Emissions Reporting (CAER) project seeks to consolidate reporting activities by creating a coordinated process for regulated entities to provide the latest facility attributes and emissions data only once. CAER relies on technology and collaboration to route the appropriate data to the relevant regulatory programs.
Various state, local, tribal and federal programs require industry to report air pollutant emissions to separate systems at different times of the year. This leads to redundancy and burden for both industry and government. In the proposed future state, the CAER project will reduce the cost of collecting and managing important environmental data for both industry and government.
- Regulated Community: CAER will reduce reporting burden for facilities by avoiding duplicative efforts across programs and improving reporter experience through integrated electronic reporting and shared services.
- Public: CAER will improve the availability, timeliness, and transparency of data, while yielding higher quality and more consistent data for various users.
- Regulators: States, tribes, local governments, and EPA will spend less time reviewing and compiling data and engage in timely decision-making and analyses with more consistent, accessible, and high-quality air emissions data.
- In 2015, the CAER team held a Lean event that identified duplicative data entry points across the National Emissions Inventory, the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, the Toxics Release Inventory, the Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface, and state, local, and tribal reporting programs. The expected return on investment of streamlining these programs is $28 million annually in time and effort for industry and government. Following the Lean event, the team completed five “short-term improvement” projects that immediately benefited air reporting programs while providing building blocks for the future Common Emissions Form (CEF), a new reporting system that will allow facilities to report to multiple programs with a single submission.
- In the subsequent phase of the project, several Research & Development teams explored opportunities to enhance data sharing between programs and map reporting requirements across state and federal programs. The resulting work is serving as the foundation for what data the CEF will collect, information the CEF must have available for users, and the business rules governing CEF workflows.
- In 2018, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, together with five of its facilities, began working with EPA to pilot the CAER CEF. The CAER team has been working closely with Georgia and state, local, tribal and EPA staff from the Product Design Team, to begin construction of the CEF in its basic functionality towards a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Staff from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and its pilot facilities began testing of the CEF in October 2019, as development of the CEF towards the MVP continues. As soon as the MVP is ready, Georgia facilities will be able to begin using it to report to both the National Emissions Inventory and the Toxics Release Inventory. This could happen as early as March 2020 for 2019 emissions data flowing to the Georgia National Emissions Inventory and Toxics Release Inventory programs. CEF development will continue so that in 2021, all Georgia facilities will be able to report to both programs using the CEF. In addition, EPA will recruit more states wishing to begin working towards CEF adoption. The CEF will continue to be developed to allow for additional programs, as well as additional workflows where state, local, and tribal systems can be integrated.
State/Local/Tribal (SLT), National Emission Inventory (NEI), Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Mapping
Research consistency and possible workflows for sharing of emissions data between TRI, SLTs and NEI. This will include creating a crosswalk for pollutants between programs, figuring out how to handle each program’s terminology (e.g. facility, unit) and emission sources covered by reporting, and identifying where guidance needs to be harmonized, among other things.
Quality Assurance / Quality Control (QA/QC)
Identification and evaluation of a common set of emissions data QA/QC procedures for potential use in a shared emission reporting system.
Data Model for the Common Emissions Form (CEF)
Document a data model with the emissions-related data elements needed to support a common emission form (CEF) reporting structure in a shared emissions platform. Identify and include state-specific data elements sufficient to allow for broad usage by states and EPA CAER
SCC-WebFIRE for the Common Emissions Form (CEF)
Scoping study for identifying problems and solutions with SCCs and WebFIRE that will meet SLT, NEI, NATA, and CEDRI/ERT requirements under the CAER project.
State Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) to National GHGRP Mapping
This will be a pilot study to map emission data in the national GHGRP to state GHGRP programs. The goal of the study is to understand which data elements state mandatory reporting programs have in common with GHGRP required data elements. This will help us understand what would be necessary to share data between the programs.