Attorney General Becerra, CARB Applaud EPA for Seeking Vacatur of Rule Delaying Critical Landfill Emission Regulations

Thursday, March 4, 2021
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) today issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) voluntary motion for vacatur of its rule delaying the implementation of a critical regulation that would reduce methane emissions from landfills. The regulation at issue – known formally as the 2016 Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills – went into effect on October 28, 2016, but the EPA, under the Trump Administration, failed to implement or enforce it. 

“We applaud the Biden Administration for abandoning a Trump-era effort to delay the implementation of a critical regulation limiting methane emissions from landfills,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Landfills are the third-largest source of emissions of the super pollutant methane, and a significant emitter of carbon dioxide and other hazardous air pollutants. Today's action is a long overdue step toward reducing this major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and one that we whole-heartedly endorse.”

“Today’s Biden Administration action helps further clear away the environmental regulatory wreckage left behind by the previous administration,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. “California is going to great lengths to reduce methane emissions from landfills and other sources. Today’s motion helps return to the common sense approach of partnering with the federal government to address our most pressing air quality and climate challenges.”

In May 2018, Attorney General Becerra and CARB led a coalition of eight Attorneys General and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in a lawsuit against the EPA for its failure to implement and enforce the regulation. After a District Court found that the EPA’s inaction was in violation of the Clean Air Act, the EPA promulgated a rule delaying implementation by four years. In October 2019, Attorney General Becerra and CARB led a similar coalition in a separate lawsuit challenging this “Delay Rule.”  

In a supportive filing today, the coalition urged the court to grant the EPA's motion for vacatur of that Delay Rule. Assuming the court does so, there will no longer be legal basis for the EPA to do anything but promptly implement the 2016 Emission Guidelines.

A copy of the supportive filing is available here

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