SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota landfill that was considered ahead of the curve five years ago when it installed a system to capture gas given off by decomposing trash and turn it into energy now opposes proposed federal regulations that would require large landfills to control methane gas emissions.
The Sioux Falls Regional Landfill, which serves five counties, has been collecting methane since 2009 and selling it to an ethanol plant to burn as fuel.
Proposed federal rules could require upgrades to the landfill's system and might jeopardize a financial incentive it collects for voluntarily reducing emissions, Landfill Superintendent Dave McElroy told the Argus Leader newspaper (http://argusne.ws/1vIAv5s ).
The Poet ethanol plant near Chancellor pays Sioux Falls $2 million annually for the gas, and $150,000 annually for the carbon credits the city earns for voluntarily curbing emissions.
"At Poet, we really value our partnership with the city," said Dean Frederickson, the plant's general manager.
Methane is a greenhouse gas that, like carbon dioxide, traps heat in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Landfills are among the top sources of methane emissions, along with livestock and natural gas production.
"Methane is 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide at heating the planet, and it must be addressed to prevent runaway climate change," said Danielle Baussan, managing director of the energy policy team at the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington, D.C.
Federal officials are expected to make a decision on the proposed new rules by April.