- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued two proposals on Friday under President Obama's Climate Action Plan to reduce methane-rich emissions from municipal solid waste landfills. One proposal updates the 1996 Emissions Guidelines for existing MSW landfills, and a supplemental proposal will reduce emissions from new and modified landfills.
- Under the new proposals, landfills will begin collecting and controlling gas at emission levels almost one-third lower than current requirements. The combined proposals are expected to reduce methane emissions by an estimated 487,000 tons a year, beginning in 2025.
- The EPA estimates the climate benefits of the combined proposals at nearly $750 million in 2025 — nearly $14 for every dollar spent to comply.
MSW landfills accounted for 18% of methane emissions in 2013, making them the third-largest source of human-related emissions. By requiring landfills to control gas at a lower emissions threshold than previously required, the government is taking a crucial step in making landfills safer for the environment.
The new proposals strengthen a similar proposal issued in July 2014. "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 EPA will take comment on the proposed rules for 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register.