At the March 16, 2020 Air Quality and Control Advisory Council (AQCAC) meeting, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) provided an update on proposed and upcoming regulations targeting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs). As part of Maryland's continued efforts in combatting climate change, MDE is developing two regulations aimed at reducing emissions of high priority SLCPs; the first to prohibit the use of certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and the second to reduce methane emissions from the transmission sector of the natural gas industry. The proposed regulations should be published in mid-June, while a final adoption is expected in the fall of 2020.
The next priority for MDE regarding SLCPs is mitigating leaking methane from the natural gas distribution system and escaping methane from landfills. In regard to the natural gas distribution system, MDE is holding meetings with potentially impacted companies and conducting research to determine the next steps. Wider stakeholder meetings are expected to start in summer or fall 2020. MDE is also continuing to explore potential additional methane reductions in the transmission sector and further regulations may follow.
Currently, municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills in Maryland are required to meet state regulations regarding landfill gas emissions (COMAR 126.96.36.199). However, a new Federal regulation for emissions from MSW landfills is expected to be released in the near future. MDE plans to propose more stringent regulations for MSW landfills and methane emissions while using the federal requirements as a baseline. MDE noted that stakeholder meetings regarding the potential state regulations for methane emissions from MSW landfills were expected to begin this spring during the March AQCAC meeting. It is unknown if this timing has been impacted by coronavirus meeting restrictions.
MDE's full presentation on SLCPs can be found on MDE's website. Trinity is closely following all of Maryland's greenhouse gas mitigation efforts. If you have any questions regarding the potential impacts of these regulations, please contact us at (240) 379-7490.