Hard to Digest

SWANA and NSWMA oppose changes to Landfill Methane Outreach Program.

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) filed joint comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing requested changes to the agency's Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP).

A group of 10 environmental groups recently petitioned EPA to ask the agency to change the focus of LMOP from generating energy from landfill methane to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of landfills. The groups ask that the program focus instead on promoting composting as way to avoid placing organic wastes in landfills, where the wastes in turn create methane emissions.

“The success of EPA's LMOP program in helping achieve greenhouse gas reductions is overwhelming,” said John Skinner, executive director and CEO of SWANA, in a press release. “From 1990 to 2008, emissions from landfills dropped 15 percent, a fact highly attributable to the beneficial use of landfill gas projects that LMOP supports. The emphasis on landfill gas recovery should be increased not reduced.”

“While our organizations support composting in an integrated solid waste management system, we believe that the capture and beneficial use of methane at landfills is a crucial component in reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions from the solid waste sector,” added Bruce Parker, president and CEO of NSWMA, in the release. “The LMOP program must be sustained.”

LMOP is a voluntary program that encourages the recovery and use of landfill gas as a source of energy. LMOP partners with landfill owners and other stakeholders to help them assess project feasibility, find financing, and market the benefits of a landfill gas-to-energy project to the surrounding community.

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