A proposed rule reducing the number of Washington businesses that must report emissions of greenhouse gases will have little effect on agricultural producers, a state Department of Ecology spokesman said.

"The rule is intended to focus on facilities, not individual emitters," Seth Preston, communications manager for the department, said.

"The threshold is very high" on the emissions levels, he said. The threshold -- 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year -- takes in transportation, large facilities and fuel suppliers. "Individual farmers and ranchers shouldn't be affected."

In 2008, the Legislature directed Ecology to develop rules requiring the state's largest sources of greenhouse gases to report their emissions.

As Ecology developed the rules, the agency and stakeholders recognized that the reporting program could be streamlined, the agency said in a news release. The changes make it less complicated, which makes it easier to get accurate, consistent data. They also make it easier and less costly for companies to comply with the rules.

In September 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also adopted greenhouse gas reporting rules. This year, Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Legislature approved legislation that will align the state and EPA rules more closely.

Facility-based reporting will be used instead of entity-wide reporting. This makes it easier for businesses to calculate their emissions and ensures that Ecology receives the same emissions data as EPA from those who will report to both.

-- Steve Brown

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