MACo Calls For County Input on Anaerobic Digestion & Recycling Facility Legislation

At the bill hearing before the House Environment and Transportation Committee (2016-01-27), MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp supported with amendments legislation (HB 61) that would enact new regulations for recycling and anaerobic digestion facilities. The legislation was sponsored by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Knapp’s proposed amendments would require MDE to consult with MACo and other affected stakeholders when creating and adopting the new regulations for recycling facilities and anaerobic digestion facilities. From MACo’s testimony:

Anaerobic digestion is a promising technology that can help both urban and rural counties address food, human, animal, and other organic waste while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and generating power. However, anaerobic digestion facilities have no chance of becoming widespread in Maryland until there is regulatory certainty over how they should operate.

Additionally, as materials recovery facilities (MRFs) sort and process recyclables collected through the single stream process, they are handling increasing amounts of what is currently defined as non-recyclable “solid waste.” Under current law, this could trigger the need for MRFs to apply for a solid waste disposal permit – an expensive and cumbersome requirement that was never intended to apply to them. HB 61 would allow MDE to adopt regulations to require recycling facilities like MRFs to meet reasonable public safety and health requirements while avoiding the need to apply for a solid waste permit. …

Given the potential impacts these regulations will have on the counties, MACo feels that it is only fair to give counties and other affected stakeholders a voice in their creation. A similar open process was recently used when MDE adopted regulations for composting facilities. MACo is offering the attached amendment to provide that voice.

Among the bill’s opponents was Food and Water Watch.

Useful Links

HB 61

MACo HB 61 Testimony

MDE Website

Wikipedia Entry on Anaerobic Digestion

 

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