SWANA Comments on Congressional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Date: March 20, 2007

Source: Solid Waste Association of North America

SWANA Comments on Proposed National Greenhouse Gas Control Program
Association Submits Recommendations to Committee On Energy And Commerce

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) submitted comments on Mar. 19, 2007 to Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) of the Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding a national greenhouse gas (GHG) control program that is being reviewed by Congress. SWANA wanted to make sure that the Congress was aware that improved solid waste management practices can significantly reduce the emission of GHG that contribute to global warming and climate change. The Association also made several recommendations about the desired characteristics of any of any GHG program that Congress might develop.

"SWANA is pleased to be able to make its views knows as the congress is developing programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," commented John H. Skinner, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO of SWANA, "We are hopeful that the committee will apply our recommendations to any national greenhouse gas control program that is developed and look to SWANA as a resource in the development process."

SWANA's five recommendations to Chairman Dingell are as follows: (1) the program should recognize the significant GHG reductions that have occurred as a result of modern management of solid waste; (2) the program should take advantage of the even greater reductions that can occur from more extensive energy recovery and recycling of municipal solid waste (MSW); (3) the program should be market based, using the market and its forces to achieve the desired GHG reductions; (4) it should create financial incentives for energy recovery, recycling, and use of MSW to develop alternative fuels; and (5) if the programs includes a cap and trade program, it should be multi-sector, transparent, rules-based and verifiable, and include GHG offsets for energy recovery and recycling.

The letter goes on to say that over the past 30 years, application of modern technologies in waste management, mainly control and utilization of landfill gas, combustion and recovery in waste-to-energy facilities, and recycling and composting have reduced GHG emissions by 120 to 190 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, even as MSW disposal volumes in the United States grew by more than 100 million tons per year over that time period. SWANA also predicts that "with further incentives for these technologies that would occur with the waste industry participation in a carbon credit trading market, there is a potential for much greater GHG emission reductions in the future."

View the full letter sent from SWANA to Chairman Dingell:

For over 40 years, SWANA, The Solid Waste Association of North America, has been the leading professional association in the solid waste management field. SWANA's mission is "to advance the practice of environmentally and economically sound management of municipal solid waste." SWANA serves over 7,500 members and thousands more industry professionals with technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.

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