New regs for Tuesday: greenhouse gases, equal employment opportunity and renewable fuel standards

Tuesday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for greenhouse gas emissions from the Environmental Protection Agency, a final rule from the Department of Justice for federal contractors and subcontractors to follow in regard to giving job applicants equal employment opportunities and an announcement from the EPA delaying its release of new renewable fuel standards. 

Here’s what is happening: 

Greenhouse gases: The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a rule that would require petroleum and natural gas companies that are hydrofracking and have oil wells to report their greenhouse gas emissions.

The rule will add greenhouse gas calculation methods and reporting requirements for facilities that use hydraulic fracturing to stimulate oil and natural gas wells and release natural gas from pipelines between compressor stations. 

“The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) requires annual reporting of greenhouse gas data and other relevant information from large sources and suppliers in the United States,” the proposed rule said. 

“On October 30, 2009, the EPA published Part 98 for collecting information regarding greenhouse gas emissions from a broad range of industry sectors. Although reporting requirements for petroleum and natural gas systems were originally proposed to be part of Part 98 , the final October 2009 rule did not include the petroleum and natural gas systems source category as one of the 29 source categories for which reporting requirements were finalized.” 

The public has 60 days to comment. 

Sexual orientation: The Department of Labor is issuing a final rule to prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from using sexual orientation or gender identity to discriminate against employees. 

In July, the president amended a previous Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government executive order toclarify the phrase “sex” to mean discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Federal contractors and subcontractors are expected to ensure that job applicants are considered without regard to their race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. 

The final rule will take effect in four months. 

Renewable fuel standards: The Environmental Protection Agency will not release new Renewable Fuel Standards by the end of 2014. The agency said 2013 standards should be followed in 2015. 

The delay comes from public controversy over how volumes should be set since gasoline consumption has been lower than what the Energy Independent Security Act forecasted. EPA said it wants the new standards to support the administration’s commitment to increase the use of renewable fuels, specifically cellulosic biofuels, to reduce greenhouse gases emitted by transportation vehicles. 

The agency will take action on the new rules in 2015.