Wednesday, December 13, 2017

EPA proposes updated landfill emissions regulations to combat methane

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two proposals related to methane emissions rules Friday that would require landfills, both modified and existing, to begin collecting and controlling their gas emissions, putting the threshold for compliance nearly a third lower than current regulations.

Municipal solid waste landfills, which handle non-hazardous waste, accounted for 18 percent of the country’s methane emissions in 2013, making them the third-largest source for the greenhouse gas. They also produce air toxins and carbon dioxide as byproducts of decomposition.

Aimed at improving a proposed rule from 2014, these new proposals would modify 1996 emission guidelines for landfills, to the tune of reducing methane emissions by nearly 500,000 tons a year by 2025. This would be equivalent to the annual carbon pollution from over 1.1 million homes. The rule’s implementation is projected to cost $55 million for 2025, but the EPA estimates that climate benefits will easily offset the price tag, saving $750 million.

Methane is a key contributor to climate change, with its global warming potential coming in a 25 times that of carbon dioxide.

Organizations in this story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

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