Under the Obama administration, the EPA finalized the Emissions Guidelines and New Source Performance Standards rules to address changes in the landfill industry since prior rulemaking in 1996.  The EPA was supposed to approve plans from states related to the implementation of the emissions guidelines and create a federal plan but the Trump administration has not done so.

On May 6, 2019, a federal judge in California ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move forward with implementing the 2016 Emissions Guidelines for landfills, ruling in favor of the states challenging the EPA’s decision not to carry out the requirements of the Obama-era landfill emissions regulations.  U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. soundly rejected the EPA’s argument that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which established that a state could sue the agency under the Clean Air Act over greenhouse gas regulations, did not apply to the landfill case at issue – California v. EPA.  The court’s decision reasoned that “[j]ust as Congress afforded Massachusetts a right to challenge EPA’s decision not to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, Congress afforded the state plaintiffs here the right to challenge EPA’s failure to perform its nondiscretionary duties.”  Per the court’s ruling, the EPA must now review compliance plans from the five states that have submitted them by September 6, 2019, and set forth a federal plan by November 6, 2019. \lsdlocked0 Lis