The federal government’s Clean Power Plan might be seen to pit natural gas against coal; wind and solar against fossil fuels.
In Pennsylvania, the plan to cut the power sector’s carbon emissions has spurred a third skirmish — this one a battle over garbage.
In comments to Pennsylvania environmental regulators forging a state strategy to comply with the federal plan, facilities that burn municipal waste to create energy and landfills that turn gas from decomposing waste into fuel for heat or power each claim to be the most climate friendly while painting the other as flawed.
Covanta Energy, which operates five of the six municipal waste-to-energy incinerators in the state, asked regulators to look kindly on its facilities. It suggested that the state prohibit allowances for landfills that capture methane if Pennsylvania creates an emissions trading system, so as not to incentivize greater landfill use.
“The state should avoid creating a hurdle for [waste-to-energy] which does not apply to landfills, given that [waste-to-energy] mitigates [greenhouse gases] while landfills contribute to the burden,” the New Jersey-based company wrote.