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Comments to EPA on Delay of Landfill Emission Guidelines

In 2016, EPA finalized Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. Once implemented, the regulation will deliver significant net benefits from reducing pollution that contributes to climate change and other harmful impacts to human health. EPA, however, is proposing to substantially delay the implementation of these protections. We submitted comments that point out how EPA fails to justify the proposed delay and assess its social costs.

The agency has announced its plan to postpone deadlines for submission of state implementation plans, EPA review of state plans, and EPA proposal of any necessary federal implementation plans. Delays of regulation require that the agency explain the basis for breaking from its prior position, but EPA does not offer a rational explanation. The agency instead provides a flawed account of the proposed delay’s costs and benefits. Its claims that additional time would benefit both states and the agency are vague and unfounded. EPA, further, does not assess the forgone benefits of the proposed delay, making no attempt to quantify the likely emissions increases that would result from postponed implementation. The justification and assessment of the delay are inadequate, and we argue that the proposal should not be finalized.