Waste and Recycling Industry Welcomes Supreme Court Decision on Greenhouse Emissions

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Waste and Recycling Industry Welcomes Supreme Court Decision on Greenhouse Emissions

Unanimous ruling prevents EPA regulation that would establish redundant permitting for landfills
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The National Waste & Recycling Association applauds the recent unanimous Supreme Court decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 12:50pm

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2014 /3BL Media/ — A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has relieved the threat of intensified regulation of landfills in the United States, according to the National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA).

The High Court released its decision on Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) June 23, rejecting an EPA proposal requiring some stationary pollutant sources to obtain Title V or Prevention of Significant Deterioration permits based on potential GHG emissions. Many landfills managed by companies in America’s private waste and recycling industry would potentially have been affected by this regulation.

“We applaud the Supreme Court decision to correct the Agency’s reading of the law,” said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of NW&RA. “Landfills are state of the art operations that comply with established regulations. Many of our landfill facilities collect methane gas and use it generate electricity or provide heat. These facilities are compliant with standards designed to limit GHG impacts, so these requirements would have been excessively and redundantly burdensome.”

Last October, the Court accepted petitions on whether the EPA’s regulation of GHG emissions for stationary sources was allowed under the Clean Air Act. An additional concern was whether landfills would be required to obtain permits under the EPA’s new rules.

The June 23 decision did find, however, that the EPA reasonably interpreted the Clean Air Act to require sources that would need permits based on emissions of conventional pollutants should also comply with Best Available Control Technology for GHGs. The industry anticipates that the few facilities affected would be required will be able to demonstrate that existing landfill gas control devices are compliant.

However, the issue of landfill air emissions is not entirely resolved. The long-anticipated update to the New Source Performance Standards for landfills was signed yesterday and made available in draft form this afternoon. It is expected to be published shortly.

“We will continue to work with the federal agencies to press for reasonable approaches for improved sustainability and continued innovation,” Kneiss said.

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The National Waste & Recycling Association is the trade association that represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that collect and manage garbage, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors and a variety of other service providers. For more information about how innovation in the environmental services industry is helping to solve today’s environmental challenges, visit www.beginwiththebin.org.


Thom Metzger
+1 (202) 364-3751
National Waste & Recycling Association
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