September 19, 2014
The waste industry’s two primary associations have jointly expressed concern to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its proposed rule on municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills.
The Washington-based National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Md., both submitted comments about what they see as unnecessary regulations with the EPA’s proposed update on the standards of performance for the landfills.
Both Sharon Kneiss, president and CEO of the NW&RA, and John Skinner, SWANA executive director and CEO, cosigned the submission to the EPA, according to a news release.
“Landfills are a critical component in the spectrum of waste management options in the United States, but the latest round of regulations proposed by the EPA create significant, undue burden that will prove harmful to continued development of renewable energy projects and efficient management of America’s waste,” Kneiss said.
“EPA’s proposed new rule and cost analysis substantially underestimates the number of existing landfills that will be affected,” Skinner added. “Significant investments have already reduced methane emissions from existing landfills by more than 30 percent since 1996. Applying these new facility requirements to existing landfills could disrupt the progress already made and make it more difficult and expensive to achieve greater emission reductions.”
The joint comments express concern that the proposed rule establishes several unnecessary agency review processes and reporting redundancies that will impede facility efficiency. The added procedures will slow operational changes, reduce efficiencies, increase costs and expose landfills to potential violations, while not providing any environmental benefit.
The comments also state that the EPA did not consider the financial impact of its proposed rule on existing facilities that expand or make site modifications, which are most of what’s affected.
In addition, the associations claim that EPA’s proposed treatment standards would require expensive additions to and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure, potentially damaging the momentum behind using waste as a resource.
The EPA is expected to publish the final rule early next year after issuing its proposed rule July 17.