- The Washington Times - Friday, August 14, 2015

Having already imposed new regulations on automobiles, planes, power plants and oil-and-gas drilling sites, the Obama administration on Friday turned its attention to garbage, proposing new rules to limit emissions from solid waste landfills.

The Environmental Protection Agency plan, estimated to cost at least $55 million to implement, is aimed at controlling methane and other toxins produced as trash decomposes. The agency claims its rules will produce nearly $750 million in “climate benefits” by 2025.

Landfill operators would be responsible for cutting methane emissions by more than 30 percent, the EPA said.

“Under today’s proposals, new, modified and existing landfills would begin collecting and controlling landfill gas at emission levels nearly a third lower than current requirements,” the agency said in a statement. “Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide. Climate change threatens the health and welfare of current and future generations. 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. In addition to methane, landfills also emit other pollutants, including the air toxics benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and vinyl chloride.”

The proposal comes less than two weeks after the EPA released the first carbon emissions restrictions on power plants, and as the agency moves ahead with plans to limit emissions from commercial aircraft.

Those and other regulations are part of President Obama’s broader plan to fight climate change and cut overall U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025. The rules will be open to public comment for the next two months, and the agency says it may hold a public hearing on the proposal.

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