By Patrick D. Joyce and Philip L. Comella

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued two proposed rules lowering the threshold at which landfills must control methane gas emissions.

For active landfills, EPA proposes to reduce the threshold from 50 metric tons of non-methane organic compounds annually to 34 metric tons. As a practical matter, this means that roughly 100 active landfills – with emissions over 34 metric tons but under 50 metric tons — would have to install a gas collection and control system in accordance with 40 CFR Part 60, subpart WWW. The proposal would also require closed landfills that exceed 50 metric tons of emissions per year to install a control device.

At the same time, the Agency also issued a supplemental proposed rule lowering the emission threshold for new landfills from 40 metric tons per year (as it proposed in 2014) to 34 metric tons.  This reduction is based on the Agency’s position that the lower threshold is achievable at a reasonable cost.

These reductions will affect not only the compliance obligations of smaller landfills but may also have an impact on eligibility for greenhouse gas credits or other environmental attributes.

We will provide a more complete evaluation of the proposals soon.