Jimmy Slaughter Quoted in Waste Dive on Landfill Emissions Enforcement

Waste Dive

Waste Dive interviewed Principal Jimmy Slaughter (Washington, DC) regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new enforcement initiative for greenhouse gas emissions that adds landfills to the target industries for Clean Air Act enforcement. EPA recently published its 2024-27 enforcement priorities, and has alleged “widespread noncompliance” in methane emissions from landfills. The agency announced its plans to use “preexisting requirements set out by the New Source Performance Standards that govern landfills” to crack down on methane emissions as part of the Biden Administration’s climate and environmental justice priorities. The solid waste sector has raised concerns regarding EPA’s enforcement against vital waste management infrastructure, particularly the accuracy of agency modeling systems for fugitive emissions from landfills. Jimmy discussed these developments with Waste Dive in “As EPA ramps up landfill emissions enforcement, modeling frustrations resurface.”

Industry leaders expressed surprise at EPA’s move. Landfills have made enormous investments in collecting renewable biogas for energy needs. Jimmy raised questions about how the agency could prove unlawful emissions when the data it uses to quantify landfill emissions are modeled instead of coming from measurements at combustion and emission sources, the usual source of data for enforcement. The direct measurement of fugitive landfill GHG emissions is an active and challenging area of research, particularly given that landfills are dynamic biological systems covering large areas, have significant variations in topography and climate, and contain different waste compositions. Jimmy told Waste Dive, “just using modeling to estimate what fugitive landfill gas emissions are is not reliable,” and that “there are questions about fairness.”

He added, “It’s better…that both regulators and industry look to accurate, actual measurements of landfill gas emissions.”

A Chambers-ranked lawyer, Jimmy is a leader in enforcement defense, mass tort, class action, and constitutional litigation involving solid waste, chemicals, drinking water, wastewater, and biosolids. Law360 named Jimmy an “MVP” for 2020, and American Lawyer selected him as a Runner-Up or Shout Out recipient in its Litigator of the Week competition six times since 2019.