(Washington, D.C. – June 19, 2018) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) gave the Environmental Protection Agency notice today that they intend to sue EPA and Administrator Scott Pruitt over air pollution from landfills.
The groups plan to sue over the agency’s to implement 2016 emission guidelines for municipal solid waste landfills. The guidelines are a long-overdue update to clean air protections for the hundreds of existing landfills affecting communities across the country.
“Each day that EPA fails to perform the Agency’s mandatory duties delays the Landfill Rule’s promised emission reductions … EPA’s failure to approve or disapprove any state plans or impose a federal plan on states that have failed to submit state plans forestalls those pollution reductions indefinitely, depriving the public of the climate and human health protections afforded by the Landfills Rule.” (Notice of Intent to Sue, page 2)
Landfills are the nation’s third-largest source of climate-destabilizing methane pollution. They also discharge numerous hazardous air pollutants – including those known to cause cancer, such as benzene.
EPA estimates the updated protections would reduce approximately 285,000 metric tons of methane pollution and 1,810 metric tons of health-harming and smog-forming non-methane organic compounds each year by 2025. The updated protections would provide annual benefits of $390 million, over and above any compliance costs.
EPA has publicly stated that it does not intend to implement the program, even though it committed to a clear timetable for doing so almost two years ago at the conclusion of an extensive rulemaking process.
A coalition of seven states, the California Air Resources Board, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has also challenged EPA for its failure to enforce the landfills emission guidelines. The coalition filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on May 31.
A copy of EDF and NRDC’s 60-Day Notice of Intent to Sue is available here.
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