Evan Williams

Tapping landfills to generate power seemed smart. So why is the industry threatened?

Tapping landfills to generate power seemed smart. So why is the industry threatened?

Tapping methane produced from decaying garbage in landfills to generate electricity was among California’s earliest experiments in renewable energy.

But in order to comply with a new regional rule to cut another pollutant — the one that often leaves Southern California blanketed in a layer of smog — a Riverside County landfill has decided to shut down its generators and will simply flare the methane, sending tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The decision reflects a clash of environmental goals and regulations — and demonstrates some of the difficult choices confronting California as it pushes ahead...

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