EPA Proposes Updates to Methane Standards at New Landfills

Allison Stalker Environmental Regulations 2 Comments

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new proposal last week to update the air standards for new municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills.  The proposal is a part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.

As waste decomposes in a landfill, it breaks down to form landfill gas that is made up of carbon dioxide, methane, and other air toxics.  The release proposes to require new landfills to capture additional landfill gas, which includes methane. By reducing methane emissions, the risk to public health would be reduced.  Additionally, because methane is a potent greenhouse gas, this proposal is also a step towards curbing climate change.

“Reducing methane emissions is a powerful way to take action on climate change,” said Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This latest step from the President’s methane strategy builds on our progress to date and takes steps to cut emissions from landfills through common-sense standards.”

The proposal would require new MSW landfills to capture two-thirds of the methane and air toxics emissions by 2023.  This is 13% more than what is currently required.  Landfills accounted for 18% of the U.S. methane emissions in 2012, the third largest source of human-related methane.  Methane makes up about 9% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Along with the proposal, the EPA is seeking public feedback on whether guidelines for existing landfills should be updated and how to go about this process.  They are doing so through an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), released on June 30th, 2014.  The EPA is also accepting comments on the proposal for new landfills for 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

To learn more about the proposal, click here.

Comments 2

  1. I’m reading this and I like the Geico TV commercial; “everybody knows that”…..Don’t get me wrong on this……If it’s true that municipal solid waste landfill’s gas can be consider a greenhouse gas and is threating the public health, it’s should be also true, that instead of continuing the promulgation of the danger that can cause this type of gas, redirect efforts toward the great resource we have in our hands that it’s not being mentioned: “CLEAN AND FREE ENERGY SOURCE”……Humans prouduce tons of waste every day that in order to keep it safe from ourselves, we send it to the landfills….But nature kick it back to us as a great source of energy and meanwhile other cultures, countries and governments spent their time to reduce, reuse and recycling every reject raw material in their many ways, EPA continues to establish laws against it. It’s okay, but people, we are in the year 2014 and we have too much laws already (seek and find)……Emphasize your efforts in use what nature give to you and develop more grants for smart people that want to produce energy with it….Spend it in education, how to storage it in a safe way, how to sell it to common people to use it in their homes instead of the regular gas used today in cities…that what matter right now and welcome aboard to the new generation bus that goes around the world today……Thank you for the opportunity…the writer is an Environmental Consultant in Puerto Rico where people still sceptic about this wonderful ideas….

  2. Pingback: Is the Federal Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions Sufficient?

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