The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has presented proposals for updating air standards for municipal solid waste landfills. The changes are part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan that aims to reduce methane emissions, the EPA explained in a statement.
If the proposals are finalized in their current version some landfills across the United States will have to introduce extra measures for compliance, in order to make sure they capture more gas to meet emission reduction targets. New solid waste landfills will have to control emissions to a lower threshold than under current regulations. The EPA's new rule would require landfills to capture two-thirds of their toxic emissions, including methane, by 2023. The agency calculated that the total annual costs of complying with the new requirements in the proposal would be approximately $471,000 in 2023.
Before finalizing the rule, the federal regulator is calling for public input on the matter and encouraging stakeholders to share their opinion on whether and how guidelines for existing landfills should be updated.
By reducing methane emissions regulators and industry are taking decisive action on climate change, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated. She added that the proposal consisted of "common-sense standards" and that it built on the progress made so far in emission reduction.
Currently, about nine percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. are methane emissions and landfills are the third-largest human-related source of the gas, accounting for 18 percent of total methane emissions, the EPA said.