On Wednesday, December 23, 2009, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding their proposed Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule. This proposal is targeted at facilities with emissions over 25,000 tons of CO2e annually and would require them to obtain permits that would demonstrate they are using Best Available Control Technologies (BACT) to minimize their GHG emissions.
SWANA’s comments expressed many concerns with the rule, but mainly focused on the lack of industry involvement with BACT development and the fact that the proposed threshold is too low and does not represent the Congressional intent of PSD to cover “major sources”.
“If EPA were to finalize this rulemaking as proposed, they would subject a large number of very small solid waste disposal facilities to regulation under the Clean Air Act, ” said John Skinner, Executive Director and CEO of SWANA. “This would represent a very expensive undertaking for the regulated facilities for a very small reduction in emissions,” Skinner added.
Landfills are perhaps the largest sector to be affected by this ruling. EPA estimates that using the 25,000 tons of CO2e threshold would newly subject 1,700 landfills to Clean Air Act permitting. Currently these landfills are not subject to PSD or Title V operating permits because they do not meet the non-methane organic compound (NMOC) or waste-in-place thresholds of the existing regulation. However they would exceed the 25,000 tpy CO2e threshold in the proposed regulation and would be subject to PSD and Title V. These additional landfills would be required to show they are using the BACT to control their GHG emissions.
Additionally, this ruling could unfairly affect waste-to-energy operations by forcing them to show use of BACT for their GHG emissions, regardless of the amount of GHG avoided by WTE on a life cycle basis.
To read our full letter to EPA please click here.
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For close to 60 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.