Jacob Shepherd, P.E. – Legislative Liaison – email@example.com
Senate Holds Hearing on Recycling & Composting Bills
On February 2, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) held a hearing to discuss two draft bills, the “Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act of 2022” and the “Recycling and Composting Accountability Act.” These bills would provide additional data on recycling and composting activities at a national level and fund a pilot grant program to increase recycling access, respectively. The bills have not yet been introduced in the Senate.
The Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act, to be sponsored by Senator Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), is meant to provide investments in infrastructure in underserved communities through the use of a hub-and-spoke model for recycling infrastructure development. In this case, underserved would be defined as a community that does not have access to more than 1 MRF within 150 miles. The other bill discussed at the hearing was the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act, which will be sponsored by Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) and Senator John Boozman (R-AR). This bill is primarily focused on data collection for improving recycling and composting. It would require EPA to work with states and local governments to provide numerous reports on recycling and MRFs.
SWANA Joins Industry Comments on Renewable Fuel Standard
SWANA and the Landfill Gas & Biogas Technical Division joined The Coalition of Renewable Natural Gas, NGVAmerica, National Waste & Recycling Association, American Public Gas Association, and Energy Vision to provide comments to EPA on its proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Annual Rules.
The proposed rule would revise the previously set 2020 RFS standards and set the volume standards for compliance years 2021 and 2022. It also includes EPA’s proposed approach for addressing the remanded 2016 standard-setting rulemaking, as well as other proposed changes to the RFS regulations. Of note for the solid waste industry this year, EPA requested comment on modelling of lifecycle GHG emissions for fuels produced from separated municipal solid waste that is diverted from landfills to processing facilities that produce diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel.
White House Issues Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
The Biden Administration has issued a guidebook for state, local, tribal, and territorial leaders to help them understand the funding available under the new infrastructure bill. It also includes an explanatory document that shows program-by-program information. This will be updated at regular intervals. For the solid waste industry, two funding opportunities of note are the $275 million Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Infrastructure Grants program and the $75 million Reduce, Reuse, Recycling Education and Outreach Grants program, both of which were supported by SWANA. The guidebook states that EPA will begin stakeholder outreach and engagement on the programs in the 2nd quarter of 2022 with funding available starting in the 4th quarter. SWANA will continue to closely follow their development and participate in all engagement opportunities, while also urging EPA and the Administration to move as quickly as practical to make the funding available.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Technical Revisions/Clarifications for NESHAP Subpart AAAA Air Regulations – On February 3, 2022, the EPA finalized technical revisions and clarifications for the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) 40 CFR 63 Subpart AAAA established in the March 2020 revisions. Among multiple clarifications, this action clarifies the timelines for installation and operating a gas collection and control system (GCCS) for those landfills above either the 34 Mg/yr or 50 Mg/yr threshold as applicable. Landfills subject to GCCS requirements can no longer expect a 30-month time period for phasing in new regulations.
The 444th legislative session convened on January 12, 2022 and will adjourn on April 11, 2022. Bills related to recycling and solid waste include:
HB0018/SB0143 – Paint Stewardship – Would require paint producers to submit producer responsibility plans and prohibits producers without plans from selling paint in the state. Referred to House Environment and Transportation Committee and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs – 3rd reading
HB0135 – Single-Use Plastics Restrictions – Would prohibit food services from providing certain single-use plastics unless requested by a customer. Unfavorable vote from Economic Matters Committee
HB0217 – Task Force on Recycling Policy and Recycling and Waste Systems – Establishes a task force to review the Maryland Recycling Act, study waste and recycling, and provide recommendations on updating the Act. Referred to Environment and Transportation Committee
HB0307/SB0292 – Packaging Producer Responsibility – This bill would establish a framework for producers of packaging materials sold in Maryland to create and implement producer responsibility plans, either individually or part of an industry organization. Producers or producer organizations would be required to submit plans to MDE for review and approval by April 1, 2024. Beginning October 1, 2024, only producers with approved plans may sell, distribute, or import for sale/distribution packaging. The bill would also establish a Producer Responsibility Plan Advisory Council and include a requirement for regular statewide recycling assessments by MDE. The industry is supportive of EPR bills. However, potential issues with this bill include the following:
- Availability of funding of and staffing for recycling assessments is unclear
- Local government reimbursement is unclear and does not consider economics in processing facility selection
- Education efforts must consider the different recycling programs used across the state
- Anaerobic digestion is not included as a reimbursable method for processing of compostable packaging
- A producer responsibility plan may allow beverage container deposits, which could adversely affect funding of local recycling programs
- The bill may not adequately empower the Producer Plan Advisory Council to require plan changes
Referred to House Environment and Transportation Committee and Senate Finance Committee
HB0708/SB0528 – Comprehensive Climate Solutions/Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 – As part of proposed greenhouse gas reduction approaches, these bills would require MDE to adopt surface emission monitoring (SEM) standards for landfills and require landfills to address discrepancies between landfill emission data and aerial flyover measurements.
SEM Requirements –HB0708 requires adoption of SEM requirements by 1/1/2023. SB0528 allows an additional year (1/1/2024). Landfills may already be subject to SEM requirements under federal regulation. If regulations follow regulations promulgated by other states (such as California or Oregon), the requirements may include a grid-based “integrated” SEM in addition to a serpentine path required by federal rules, significantly increasing the cost for quarterly monitoring events. The rules may also add limitations for precipitation and wind speed that may be difficult to meet without variances. More landfills may be subject to the rules due to changes in applicability dates and emission thresholds. Recent amendments did provide for certain exemptions to these requirements, including for landfill solar/renewable energy and organics composting.
Aerial Measurement Analysis – If aerial measurement emission data is more than 25% higher than emissions reported in a landfill’s Emission Certification Reports (ECR), the landfill must evaluate the differences and reassess the landfill methodology and equipment. Aerial measurements can be accurate for methane concentration. However, emission rates are estimated mathematically, such as through mass balance methods or meteorological modeling. Best industry practice is to estimate fugitive landfill emissions using the EPA’s LandGEM model, (last updated in 2006) and generic modeling inputs. These differences in methodology could likely lead to discrepancies, and evaluating the differences may require significant additional time/effort.
Referred to House Economic Matters Committee and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs. 2nd reading in Senate.
HB0700 – Labeling, Marketing, and Advertising for Recycling – Alters labeling requirements for plastic containers and bottles to address claims of recyclability of products and packaging. The bill would establish standards for marketing and requirements for products considered recyclable. Referred to Environment and Transportation Committee
HB1070 – Solid Waste Disposal and Diversion and On-Farm Composting and Compost Use – This bill would establish a grant fund from quarterly fees paid by owners and operators of refuse disposal facilities in the state. Referred to Environment and Transportation Committee
HB1226 – Mattress Stewardship Program – Would prohibit mattress disposal or incineration starting January 1, 2027 and would require mattress producers or producer organization to submit a stewardship plan to MDE. Referred to Environment and Transportation Committee
HB1239 – Plastic and Glass Products; Postconsumer Recycled Content Program – Would prohibit producers of certain glass and plastic products from selling or distributing materials except under certain conditions and would require them to pay an annual fee. The bill would also establish minimum post-consumer recycled content requirements. Referred to Environment and Transportation Committee
HB1331 – Coal Ash Recycling Act of 2022 – This bill would require materials used for the protection and stabilization of shorelines, precast concrete, and concrete used for wind turbine foundations to include coal ash as a component. It also requires a joint group of MDE and the University of Maryland system to identify and make recommendations on opportunities and funding sources for use of coal ash in materials used in the state. Referred to Environment and Transportation Committee
SB0490 – Maryland Recycling Act Definition Changes – Changes definitions of recycling materials and solid waste stream to include construction and demolition debris (C&D). Referred to Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee
Currently Tracking – New Landfill Methane Rules and State EG Implementation Plan – No updates. MDE is currently developing new rules for methane control and reduction from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. The rules would also implement the Emission Guidelines (EG) under the 2016 NSPS changes (40 CFR 60 Subpart Cf) and would replace the current Federal EG Plan that applies to Maryland landfills (published under 40 CFR 62 Subpart OOO). A draft regulatory framework was presented at the recent June 23, 2021 landfill stakeholders meeting, which has been posted to MDE’s website. As proposed in the draft regulatory framework, the regulations would significantly reduce the threshold for requiring the installation, operation, and monitoring of an active gas collection system. In July, the Chapter Legislative Committee distributed a list of potential issues presented in the framework. MDE is currently reviewing comments submitted on the framework and is developing a draft regulation, which is expected to be published soon.
West Virginia Legislative
HB2105 – WV Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Control Act – Would require the use of returnable containers for beverages and establish a container deposit program. House Workforce Development.
HB4084 – Advanced Recycling – Would clarify that advanced recycling (otherwise known as “chemical” recycling) is not solid waste. This would allow advanced recycling facilities to operate without additional oversight from the solid waste management board. Passed House and Senate; requires Senate concurrence.
SB0554 – Transferring Solid Waste Management Board to DEP – Would transfer functions to the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). A separate bill would abolish the board. Senate Finance Committee
District of Columbia Legislative
Council Period 23 began on January 2, 2021 and will end at 12:00 p.m. on January 2, 2023. Currently no bills related to solid waste and recycling are being considered.
What’s on the Biden administration’s waste and recycling to-do list in 2022 – Waste Dive – January 24, 2022 (with updates)
U.S. Plastics Pact Releases Anticipated Problematic Materials List – Waste Dive – January 25, 2022
EPA Requires Reporting on Releases and Other Waste Management of Certain PFAS – Waste Advantage – January 27, 2022
Bipartisan bills look to boost nation’s lagging recycling rates – Roll Call – February 2, 2022
Federal bills aim to improve rural recycling, boost data collection, explore national composting strategy – Waste Dive – February 3, 2022
Potomac Edison to begin recycling worn-out utility poles in Shepherdstown, Region – Shepherdstown Chronicle – February 4, 2022
National Bottle Bill Likely to Land in Congress Soon – Resource Recycling – February 8, 2022
EPR remains top item in state recycling policy debate, but bottle bills and plastic bans also in play – Waste Dive – February 10, 2022