Need to Know

Cost of Methane Capture at Landfills Could Shut Down Current Programs

With hundreds of old garbage dumps in New Jersey, some of them are seeking to capture methane, a lethal source of greenhouse gas pollution leaking from the landfills and contributing to global climate change.

That effort could be jeopardized, according to some, who say at least five county landfills might have to shut down their operations because they can no longer afford to meet strict air pollution standards set by the state to burn the methane to produce electricity.

If so, the methane would simply escape into the atmosphere, complicating the state’s goal to significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. But some of the units now in place at the old dumps also fail to meet tough state standards to reduce other pollutants, which contribute to the formation of smog that blankets parts of New Jersey during summer months.

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