The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued two proposals to reduce methane gas emissions from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills.
Under the Washington-based agency’s new proposals, new, modified and existing landfills would begin collecting and controlling landfill gas at emission levels almost one-third lower than current requirements, according to a news release from the EPA.
The EPA expects the combined proposed rules, as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, to reduce methane emissions by an estimated 487,000 tons a year beginning in 2025. That’s equivalent to cutting carbon pollution emissions from more than 1.1 million homes.
The EPA said the two proposals would cost an estimated $55 million in 2025. It set the climate benefits from the combined proposals at nearly $750 million for that year, or nearly $14 for every dollar spent to comply.
The new proposals would strengthen a previously proposed rule for new landfills from 2014, and would update the agency’s 1996 emission guidelines for existing landfills.
The agency bases the proposals on additional data and analysis, and public comments received on a proposal and Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking EPA issued in 2014.
EPA will accept comments on the proposed rules for 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold a public hearing if one is requested within five days of publication.
The EPA’s annual waste study, released in June, for the first time in a while included figures on landfill tipping fees, which so often are a major variable in the attraction of landfills as a waste management option. Landfill tipping fees had a mean average of $49.78 in 2013, and increased an average of 83 cents per year since 2004. Average mean tip fees were nearly as high in 1995 as they are today.