California Air and Climate: BAAQMD Releases Draft Rule Regulating Methane Emissions; US Bureau of Land Management Releases Draft Fracking Plan for California

July 2019

California Air and Climate: Vol. 9

BAAQMD Releases Draft Rule Regulating Methane Emissions from Composting Operations
In preparation for an expected doubling in the number of composting facilities under its purview, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (“BAAQMD”) published a draft rule to reduce methane and volatile organic compound (“VOC”) emissions from these operations. California’s upcoming mandate under SB 1383 to reduce landfilling of organic waste by 75 percent by the year 2025, is expected to result in 12 to 15 new composting facilities in the Bay Area alone to handle the expected doubling of organic materials diverted from landfills. Proposed Regulation 13 Rule 2 will implement emission control standards and best management practices to reduce methane emissions generated by anaerobic decomposition of organic materials during handling, storage and stockpiling, and active and curing phase composting. These controls and practices are designed to ensure that methane emissions avoided through diversion of organic waste from the landfills are not replaced by increased methane emissions from composting operations. While the South Coast Air Quality Management District and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District currently regulate VOC emissions from composting operations, the BAAQMD rule will be the first in the state to target methane emissions from these sources. BAAQMD also published a Workshop Report providing background on the rule. BAAQMD plans to propose the rule for adoption in the fourth quarter of 2019.

United States Bureau of Land Management Releases Draft Fracking Plan for California
Earlier this year, the United States Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) released its draft plan to open more than a million acres of public and private land in California to be utilized for oil and gas development, including hydraulic fracturing or fracking. BLM’s plan ends a five-year moratorium on releasing federal land in California to oil and gas development, and impacts land in eight different counties in Central California, including Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura counties. During the public comment period on the draft plan, which ended on June 10, 2019, the plan received widespread criticism from environmental groups that noted the increase in oil and gas development will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions in areas within the Central Valley, which is already considered to have some of the worst air quality in the country. BLM will now review and respond to the public comments it received on the draft plan. The agency is expected to release a version of its final plan later this year.