Methane emissions from landfills subjected to new EPA regulations

Methane emissions are potent greenhouse gases

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tightened standards for the nation’s landfills to reduce methane emissions and other harmful air pollutants.

methane emissions

Source: US Energy Information Administration.

EPA estimates the new rules announced Friday as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan will reduce methane emissions from decomposing household waste by about 480,000 tons a year by 2025. equivalent to reducing 12.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the carbon pollution emissions from more than 1.1 million homes.

Landfills rank as the third-largest human-related source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming at 25 times the rate of an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide.

In addition to methane, landfills also emit other pollutants, including the air toxics benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and vinyl chloride.

EPA says implementing the new methane emissions standards will cost about $55 million over the next decade.

EPA estimates the climate benefits of the combined proposals at nearly $750 million in 2025 or nearly $14 for every dollar spent to comply. Combined costs of the proposed rules are estimated at $55 million in 2025.

A spokeswoman for the Solid Waste Association of North America said the industry group is studying the new standards before responding.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide.

Municipal solid waste landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the U.S., accounting for 18 per cent of methane emissions in 2013 – the equivalent of approximately 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution, according to the US Department of Energy.

Children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease and people living in poverty may be most at risk from the health impacts of climate change, according to the energy department.

 

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