SWANA Applauds Changes to Federal Climate Bill

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Md., is applauding recent changes to the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454) that pertain to waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities. Authored by U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the bill would create a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions and require utilities to use renewable sources of energy to generate electricity.

Under the draft version of the bill, released at the end of April, WTE plants would have been among the facilities whose greenhouse gas emissions were regulated as part of the cap-and-trade program. Furthermore, the draft version did not define WTE as a renewable source of energy.

However, after both SWANA and the Washington-based Energy Recovery Council, a trade association that represents the WTE industry, raised objections, the legislation was amended so that WTE facilities would not be regulated under a cap-and-trade program and so that WTE would be classified as a renewable energy.

“SWANA is very pleased that the renewable energy and climate benefits of waste-to-energy are now recognized in the climate bill,” said John H. Skinner, executive director and CEO of SWANA, in a press release. “While there are still a number of questions and concerns that need to be resolved in the bill’s language, SWANA looks forward to working with the Congress in improving this important legislation.”

The bill is being debated by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Waxman is the chairman, this week. If passed by the committee, it would be sent to the full House for consideration.