American Clean Energy And Security Act of 2009

The U.S. House of Representative passed the American Clean Energy And Security (ACES) Act of 2009 in June (also referred to as the Waxman-Markey bill).

How COOL is this bill? Not COOL enough.

The bill, as currently drafted, will not fully accomplish its goal of substantially reducing landfill methane emissions.

Why? The legislation employs a performance standard approach versus encouraging diversion of methane-producing waste from landfills.

COOL 2012 is about compostable organics out of the landfill and back to soils. ACES could inadvertently, through its performance standards approach, create incentives for keeping organics in the landfill.

This is not COOL.

Download the position paper.The attached Position Paper provides a thorough explanation of the situation created by ACES as passed by the House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate will take up the bill when it returns from its summer recess. Here is a summary of the Problems and Solutions explained in more detail in the Position Paper.

PROBLEMS:

•Requires reduction in landfill methane emissions but does so by requiring all landfills to install gas capture systems. In bureaucratic terminology, ACES would extend current New Source Performance Standard rules (NSPS) that require certain landfills to install gas capture systems to all landfills.

•While there is nothing inherently wrong with the concept of gas capture, the problem is that much of the organics in the waste stream — primarily food waste — break down and emit methane before landfill gas capture systems are operating in those landfill cells.

•The fact that landfills are required to install gas capture systems, which theoretically addresses the issue of landfill methane emissions, therefore would restrict or eliminate alternative organic waste management systems such as composting and municipal anaerobic digestion from being eligible for carbon offsets.

•Revenues from carbon offsets help developers of composting and municipal anaerobic digestion projects — where the organic wastes currently are landfilled — attract investment capital. That financial benefit may no longer exist under ACES.

SOLUTIONS

•The U.S. Senate will be working on ACES after its recess in August. Contact your Senators and explain that ACES, as passed by the House of Representatives, essentially creates a loophole for continued methane emissions from landfills.

•Request that the language highlighted on page 6 of this position paper be used.

•Be sure to explain that COOL — Compostable Organics Out of Landfill and back to soils — not only eliminates landfill methane emissions, but creates end products that reduce demand for fossil-fuel produced fertilizers and sequesters carbon in the soil — additional benefits not provided by landfill methane capture.