The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Tailoring Rule, developed to minimize the impact of greenhouse gases (GHG) from small sources, is leaving public and private landfill operators in a state of confusion and uncertainty over what it may mean to the already challenging task of operating a landfill under increasingly burdensome regulations in a weak economy.
On February 22, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson retreated from the original Tailoring Rule implementation date and announced that she expects to weaken its proposed standards from stationary sources and delay implementation until 2011. It was originally scheduled to go into effect this March and would have triggered both New Source Review, under EPA’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Non-attainment New Source Review programs, and operating permit requirements mandated under Title V of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for stationary sources emitting greenhouse gases (GHG) including landfills. Her action was largely in response to a letter from eight Democratic senators with strong ties to coal, oil, and industrial polluters, obviously reflecting their constituent opposition. ...read more
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Small landfills hold big
Regulatory pressure is building on those sources emitting greenhouse gas (GHG), especially landfills, particularly under the proposed EPA Tailoring Rule. If enacted, many small and medium sized landfills will become major sources and subject to New Source Review under EPA’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Non-attainment New Source Review programs if they expand existing operations, and will be required to obtain Title V operating permits if they do not already operate under one. Besides heavy costs for compliance, it may lead to government mandated remediation and unfunded costs.
Concurrently, the waste industry is fighting hard to exempt landfills from these new regulations because unlike industrial combustion emissions, landfill gas (LFG) is uniquely different – a naturally generated gas, predominately methane, produced by organic decomposition. It’s ironic that when America is crying for energy independence and scurrying to bring more renewable energy to the grid, that landfill gas recovery has taken a national backseat to solar and wind generation, especially when you take a close look at the comparative economics. ...read more