Monday, September 10, 2007

Targeting Methane: Landfill Gas

The EPA is working to reduce landfill gas (LFG) emissions, which represent about 25% of human caused methane emissions. Whether through their program or through other means, U.S. LFG emissions are significantly down. Between 1990 and 2004, landfill methane emissions declined by 18%, or 31.4 million metric tons (CO2 equivalent) per year--that represents about .5% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions for 2004.

The EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program:

Accomplishments since program launch in 1994 include the following:

  • As of December 2006, LMOP has more than 600 Partners that have signed voluntary agreements to work with EPA to develop cost-effective LFG energy projects.
  • LMOP has developed detailed profiles for over 1,300 candidate landfills.
  • There are approximately 425 operational LFG energy projects in the United States. In addition, about 120 projects are currently under construction or are exploring development options and opportunities.
  • To date, LMOP has assisted in the development of approximately 330 LFG utilization projects - including 32 new projects and 9 project expansions that went online in 2006. These 330 projects have prevented the release of over 24 million metric tons of carbon equivalent (MMTCE - the basic unit of measure of greenhouse gases) into the atmosphere over the past 12 years.
  • In the year 2006, all operational LFG energy projects in the United States prevented the release of over 20 MMTCE.
    • This reduction is the carbon equivalent of removing the emissions from nearly 14 million vehicles on the road or planting nearly 20 million acres of forest for one year.
    • These reductions also have the same environmental benefit as preventing the use of over 169 million barrels of oil or offsetting the use of over 356,000 railcars of coal.

The graph below illustrates the growth of LFG utilization projects before and after LMOP’s inception. The first LMOP-assisted projects started in 1995, as illustrated by the shaded portion atop the 1995 bar. After 1995, the projects are divided into two categories, those that fall under the New Source Performance Standards/Emission Guidlines (NSPS/EG - in blue) and those that don’t (in yellow). Within those two categories, the shaded lines illustrate LMOP assistance. Since 1995, there has been growth in all of the above mentioned areas.

Growth In Landfill Gas Utilization Projects. If you need assistance reading this document, please visit to locate the appropriate area representative for assistance.

The graph below illustrates LMOP's emission reduction goals as well as performance in relation to these goals. In 2001-2006, LMOP met its goal and anticipates that in future years will continue to meet increasing emission reductions. For 2006, we have broken down the source of the reductions into its three primary components - electricity generation, direct-use, and flaring.

Update on Program Goals and Emission Reductions. If you need assistance reading this document, please visit to locate the appropriate area representative for assistance.

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