Release 09-59
June 25, 2009

    Leo Kay
ARB adopts landfill measure to reduce potent global warming gas

SACRAMENTO: The California Air Resources Board adopted a regulation today aimed at capturing methane from landfills throughout the state, a move that will reduce 1.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the state's landmark fight against global warming.

Today's regulation will require 14 uncontrolled municipal solid waste landfills throughout the state to design and install new gas collection and control systems by 2012. In addition, the regulation will reduce emissions from landfills with existing control systems by requiring them to be operated in a manner to minimize methane emissions. ARB estimates that 218 of the state's overall 367 municipal solid waste landfills with the potential to generate methane emissions may be subject to the regulation.

Municipal waste landfills comprise California's second largest man-made source of methane, which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

"Fixing the leaks in existing landfill gas collection systems is a fast way to cut the methane gas that is directly harming the earth's atmosphere," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols.

Today's adoption constitutes the final "early action measure" required under the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.

AB 32 requires the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020. The ARB has developed dozens of measures, guidelines and regulations aimed at achieving this goal. The landfill regulation accounts for the second biggest emission reduction regulation approved by the ARB thus far, behind the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.