EPA Stays Landfill Methane Rule

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In late March of this year, just weeks after assuming office, President Donald Trump issued his Energy Independence Executive Order that orders agencies to “review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.”

Environmental Protection Agency

On Tuesday, pursuant to that order, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a 90-day administrative stay for the August 2016 New Source Performance Standards and Emissions Guidelines for municipal solid waste landfills. The announcement comes on the heels of a May 5th letter to industry petitioner that the agency was granting the request for reconsideration of the rule.

Read the Letter Here

In August 2016, EPA issued updated guidelines for existing municipal solid waste landfills and standards for newly built, modified or reconstructed landfills. Municipal solid waste landfills receive non-hazardous waste from homes, businesses and institutions. The updated rules require landfills to install and operate landfill gas collection systems, monitor emissions, as well as other provisions. The administrative stay allows EPA to reconsider certain aspects of the new source standards and emission guidelines for existing landfills. EPA estimates that implementing these rules would cost businesses more than $100 million per year to install and operate gas collection and control systems.

“EPA is continuing to ensure that the public has the opportunity to comment on agency actions,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Reconsidering portions of the landfill rules will give stakeholders the opportunity to review these requirements, assess economic impacts and provide feedback to the agency through the reconsideration process.”

As part of the reconsideration process, EPA expects to prepare a proposed rule, allowing for public comment. EPA also continues to look at rules that affect methane emissions from oil and gas wells. Just last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted the Trump administration’s request to give EPA more time to review new proposed rules on methane emissions by the oil and gas industry.