EPA to consider repealing methane pollution standards for landfills

EPA to consider repealing methane pollution standards for landfills
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The Trump administration says it’s considering repealing major parts of an Obama administration regulation to limit methane pollution from municipal landfills.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made the announcement Tuesday, though it said EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOn The Money: New financial disclosures provide glimpse of Trump's wealth | Walmart, Macy's say tariffs will mean price hikes | Consumer agency says Education Department blocking student loan oversight Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs Lawmakers take EPA head to task for refusing to demand Pruitt repay travel expenses MORE first said it in a May 5 letter to industry groups, more than two weeks ago.

As part of the reconsideration, the EPA is delaying enforcement of the provision by 90 days.

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Pruitt decided to reconsider the provisions after requests from industry interests like Solid Waste Association of North America and the National Waste and Recycling Association. Those requests were made in October 2016.

“EPA is continuing to ensure that the public has the opportunity to comment on agency actions,” Pruitt said in a statement. “Reconsidering portions of the landfill rules will give stakeholders the opportunity to review these requirements, assess economic impacts and provide feedback to the agency through the reconsideration process.”

The rule issued in August 2016 set various standards for new and existing landfills’ emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide.

The portion subject to Pruitt’s order include new requirements for landfill operators to monitor methane emissions and the emissions limits themselves.

Environmentalists slammed Pruitt’s decision Tuesday.

“This action is the latest in a series of deeply concerning efforts Administrator Pruitt has taken to undermine core public health protections — actions taken in the dark, behind closed doors, and at the behest of powerful industry interests,” Environmental Defense Fund attorney Peter Zalzal said in a statement.

“Communities across the nation will bear the heavy pollution burden of secretive, unjustified delays in implementing common-sense clean air protections for landfill emissions,” he said.

Any change to the regulations would have to go through a full rulemaking process, including public notice and a chance for the public to comment. It would be subject to potential litigation from environmental groups, states or other opponents.