The two primary solid waste associations have written a joint letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling for the exclusion of biogenic carbon dioxide from the management of municipal solid waste (MSW) under the Clean Air Act.

The Washington-based National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and the Silver Spring, Md.-based Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) wrote the EPA administrator asking for “swift and scientifically-sound action” for the agency to develop a final rule categorically excluding biogenic CO2 from the PSD (prevention of significant deterioration) and Title V requirements of the federal air act, according to a news release from the associations.

The move was prompted by a U.S. District Court of Appeals ruling striking down the “deferral rule” that the EPA had been relying on to provide the necessary time to study biogenic CO2.

 “EPA’s deferral rule for biogenic carbon emissions was a sensible way to manage this issue when it was created,” said John Skinner, SWANA executive director and CEO. “This decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals does not change the fact that treating biogenic and anthropogenic carbon emissions the same is detrimental to the country’s environmental and economic health. Biogenic emissions from the management of MSW do not introduce new carbon into the existing natural carbon cycle.”

Said NSWMA President and CEO Sharon Kneiss, “The exclusion that we are seeking promotes the administration’s goals for materials management and landfill diversion. Furthermore, EPA’s determination of the regulatory status of biogenic CO2 will have very significant consequences for the regulatory burden associated with the PSD and Title V greenhouse gas permitting requirements under the Tailoring Rule.”