SWANA & NSWMA Call on EPA to Develop Final Rules Exempting Biogenic CO2 Emissions

In a joint letter to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) requested swift and scientifically-sound action be taken by the EPA to develop a final rule providing a categorical exclusion for bogenic CO2 from the management of municipal solid waste from the PSD and Title V requirements of the Clean Air Act.

The groups’ letter cites a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, striking down the “Deferral Rule” (Center for Biological Diversity v EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 11-1101, 7/12/13). The letter explains how prior to this ruling, EPA had been relying upon this deferral to provide the necessary time for study of biogenic CO2. SWANA and NSWMA now are calling on EPA to move forward with a rule that permanently excludes biogenic CO2 emissions for solid waste management.

SWANA and NSWMA have been involved with the biogenic deferral rulemaking process through the submission of several comments relating to the accounting framework for biogenic CO2. The groups have recommended that biogenic CO2 emissions from the management of municipal solid waste (MSW) warrant a categorical exclusion from additional regulation without the need for additional lifecycle analysis. NSWMA and SWANA cite how recent regulatory actions by EPA reinforce the appropriateness of such a categorical exclusion.

In calling for this exclusion, NSWMA President and CEO Sharon H. Kneiss stated, “The exclusion that we are seeking promotes the administration’s goals for materials management and landfill diversion. Furthermore, EPA’s determination of the regulatory status of biogenic CO2 will have very significant consequences for the regulatory burden associated with the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V greenhouse gas permitting requirements under the Tailoring Rule. The decision also will have enormous consequences for other Administrative priorities to promote production and use of renewable fuels and renewable electricity. If EPA were to not exclude biogenic CO2 emissions from MSW, the agency would discourage technologies that help the U.S. achieve the reductions the Tailoring Rule was designed to accomplish.”

SWANA’s Executive Director and CEO, John Skinner added, “EPA’s deferral rule for biogenic carbon emissions was a sensible way to manage this issue when it was created. This decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals does not change the fact that treating biogenic and anthropogenic carbon emissions the same is detrimental to the country’s environmental and economic health. Biogenic, emissions from the management of MSW do not introduce new carbon into the existing natural carbon cycle. Therefore, we urge EPA to move quickly to remove the uncertainty caused by this decision.”


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 more than 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.

Media Contact

Andrea Lazo
Director of Marketing & Digital Communications
(240) 494-2235