December 9, 2014
Two of the waste and recycling industry’s primary associations expressed both praise and concern in comments submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) from power plants.
The Washington-based National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA) and the Silver Spring, Md.-based Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) commented to the EPA on its proposed rule on Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units. The EPA is aiming to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants to address the risks of climate change, according a joint release from the associations.
The associations commended the EPA for trying to develop a rule that would reduce GHG while providing states with flexibility in how to implement the rule. But both groups also expressed concern, however, with the Existing Source proposal, and in particular with the future potential of the EPA to regulate “other entities” not in the fossil fuel electric generating sector.
“The municipalities and private companies comprising the waste and recycling industry in the United States support reducing greenhouse gas emissions from affected power plants,” said Sharon Kneiss, president and CEO of NW&RA. “However, while we have great interest in lending the support of our renewable energy projects to this effort, we object to the potential for the EPA to regulate ambiguously defined ‘other entities’ that are outside the scope of this rule.”
Both municipal and privately owned landfills that generate energy from landfill gas can help utilities achieve their emission reduction targets, the associations point out.
“We do not support a regulatory approach that could require our associations’ members, who are not electric utilities, to become governed by this rule,” said John Skinner, executive director and CEO of SWANA. “Doing so would counter the GHG reduction goals of the proposal by discouraging renewable energy sources. Only affected electricity generators should bear the burden of this rule.”
NW&RA and SWANA did applaud the EPA for releasing a revision to its Biogenic Framework Nov. 19 with its intended approach on accounting for emissions from municipal solid waste (MSW).