Energy & Environment

Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama-era landfill pollution regs


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must begin enforcing pollution regulations that were set for landfills under the Obama administration.

Haywood Gilliam Jr., a U.S. district judge in Northern California, sided with California and seven other states late Monday, ordering the EPA to begin reviewing state plans for reducing pollution from landfills.

Landfills are the third largest source of methane pollution in the U.S., releasing the highly heat-trapping gas into the air as landfill contents decompose.

{mosads}Gilliam said the EPA was long overdue in meeting its obligations and ordered the agency to review state proposals and begin promulgating regulations by fall.

“Once again, we’ve held the EPA accountable for its failure to perform its mandatory duties under the Clean Air Act, and for its unwillingness to protect public health,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said in a statement. “We celebrate this ruling requiring EPA to fulfill its long-overdue mandatory duties to control emissions from landfills.”

An EPA spokesman said they would review the decision.

The agency quickly began reconsidering the Obama-era landfill guidelines shortly after President Trump took office, announcing in May of 2017 that they would hold off on implementation while reviewing the rule.

In October of 2018, the agency again announced a delay, giving states until August of this year to submit their methane reduction plans.

Becerra argued the EPA had no legal basis for delaying implementation and enforcement of the regulation.

Gilliam, an Obama appointee, has sided against the Trump administration a number of times over the past two years, including Trump’s emergency declaration for the border wall and rollback of contraception requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

Tags Donald Trump Environmental Protection Agency EPA Methane Xavier Becerra
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