09/27/2017 - Regulatory Rollback

Municipal Solid Waste Landfill New Source Performance Standards and Emissions Guidelines

by EELP Staff

The Environmental & Energy Law Program is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following. If you’re a reporter and would like to speak with an expert on this rule, please email us.

Why it Matters

When the waste in landfills decomposes, methane, carbon dioxide, and other often toxic gases are released. These rules require emissions reductions from municipal landfills, targeting the powerful greenhouse gas methane.

Current Status

Feb. 1, 2018 The challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) delay of the New Source Performance Standards deadlines while it reconsidered the rule is dismissed.

May 31, 2018 Eight attorneys general files suit against EPA for its failure to enforce the 2016 Emissions Guidelines for existing municipal and solid waste landfills

June 20, 2018 The Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council send a 60-day notice of intent to sue to EPA.

Sep. 13, 2018 EDF files a motion to intervene in the case. The intervention motion as well as EPA’s motion to dismiss the case remain pending.

Oct. 30, 2018 EPA published a proposed rule that would adjust the compliance schedule for the 2016 emissions guidelines. The comment period is open through December 14, 2018. EPA has asked the N.D. of California to stay litigation while the rulemaking proceeds.

History

Aug 29, 2016 EPA finalizes two rules targeting methane emissions from new and existing landfills (the New Source Performance Standards and Emissions Guidelines, respectively). They are scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 28, 2016.

Oct. 27, 2016 Industry petitions EPA for reconsideration.

Trump Era

May 5, 2017 Administrator Pruitt sends a letter to industry, announcing that EPA will reconsider several aspects of the landfill rules.

May 31, 2017 EPA publishes its decision to reconsider several issues in the landfill rules and to delay the rules for 90 days.

June 16, 2017 Environmental groups sue EPA over the 90-day delayNRDC et al. v. EPA, No. 17-1157 (D.C. Cir.).

Aug. 4, 2017 The environmental groups ask the court to vacate EPA’s administrative stay of the landfill rule. NRDC, et al. v. EPA, No. 17-1157 (D.C. Cir.).

Sep. 28, 2017 The court denies the environmental groups’ request to vacate the stay. Since the 90-day delay is over, the rules should now be in effect. Therefore, the court orders parties to submit briefs on “whether the lawsuit is now moot.” NRDC, et al. v. EPA, No. 17-1157 (D.C. Cir.).

Nov. 20, 2017 The petitioners’ brief is submitted.

Jan. 22, 2018 EPA’s response brief is filed. NRDC, et al. v. EPA, No. 17-1157 (D.C. Cir.).

Feb. 1, 2018 The D.C. Circuit grants plaintiffs’ request to voluntarily dismiss its petition. Plaintiffs dismissed the case after EPA clarified that its stay did not affect any deadlines outside of the 90-day delay period. NRDC, et al. v. EPA, No. 17-1157 (D.C. Cir.).

March 23, 2018 Seven state attorneys general notify EPA they will sue in 60 days over its failure to enforce the 2016 Emissions Guidelines for existing municipal and solid waste landfills.

May 31, 2018 Eight state attorneys general file suit against EPA for its failure to enforce the 2016 Emissions Guidelines for existing municipal and solid waste landfills. The AGs of California, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont argue EPA has failed to fulfill its duty to implement and enforce the emission guidelines. They ask the court to declare that EPA violated the Clean Air Act and require EPA to implement and enforce the guidelines. California, et al. v. EPA, No. 4:18-cv-03237 (N.D.Cal.).

June 20, 2018 The Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council send a 60-day notice of intent to sue to EPA for failing to implement or enforce the Emissions Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills issued on Aug. 29, 2016.

Sep. 13, 2018 Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) files a motion to intervene in the state AGs’ suit against EPA for failing to publish emissions guidelines.

Sep. 27, 2018 EPA argues in a filing opposing EDF’s request to join the case that the court should reject it because EDF’s claims are adequately represented by the states in the case. An EPA motion to dismiss this case remains pending.

Oct. 11, 2018 EPA files its final reply urging dismissal. California, et al. v. EPA, No. 4:18-cv-03237 (N.D.Cal.).

Oct. 23, 2018 EPA notifies the court in the AGs’ suit that Acting Administrator Wheeler signed a proposed rule that would amend the deadlines in the 2016 Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. The proposal would result in extending the deadlines for states to submit plans to Aug. 29, 2019. EPA would then have six months to review the plans for completeness and another 12 months after that to consider whether to approve the plan. This new timing would align the deadlines with EPA’s ACE proposal. California, et al. v. EPA, No. 4:18-cv-03237 (N.D.Cal.).

Oct. 30, 2018 EPA published its proposed rule extending the deadline for states to submit their plans to EPA for cutting methane emissions from municipal solid waste landfills. The newly proposed rule extends the timeline for states to submit their plans by two years, from May 30, 2017 to August 29, 2019. Comments on the proposal are due by December 14, 2018.

Nov. 5, 2018 EPA filed a motion to stay the suit brought by state AGs for EPAs failure to enforce the 2016 emissions guidelines pending the completion of the proposed rulemaking initiated on October 30, 2018. – California, et al. v. EPA, No. 4:18-cv-03237 (N.D.Cal.).