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EPA proposes tougher landfill gas emission rules

News | August 17, 2015 | By:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week issued two proposals designed to further reduce emissions of methane-rich gas from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills.

An Aug. 14 press release from the EPA stated that under the proposals, new, modified, and existing landfills would begin collecting and controlling landfill gas at emission levels nearly one-third lower than current requirements.

The release said that the proposals are “part of the president’s Climate Action Plan–Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.”

Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide, according to the release.

The EPA press release stated: “Combined, the proposed rules are expected to reduce methane emissions by an estimated 487,000 tons a year beginning in 2025, equivalent to reducing 12.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the carbon pollution emissions from more than 1.1 million homes.

“EPA estimates the climate benefits of the combined proposals at nearly $750 million in 2025 or nearly $14 for every dollar spent to comply. Combined costs of the proposed rules are estimated at $55 million in 2025.”

The EPA press release continued: “Today’s proposals would strengthen a previously proposed rule for new landfills that was issued in 2014, and would update the agency’s 1996 emission guidelines for existing landfills. The proposals are based on additional data and analysis, and public comments received on a proposal and Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking EPA issued in 2014.”

The release noted that the EPA will take comment on the proposed rules for 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold a public hearing if one is requested within five days of publication.

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