Contributed by the Office of Rich Gordon:
Innovation in converting waste into energy is a rapidly growing industry in California. With the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels, this new use for waste is transforming the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) sector, and reveals the need for new pathways and systems to support this bustling industry.
Jointly authored by Assemblymen Rich Gordon (Menlo Park) and Kevin Mullin (South San Francisco), AB 1126 will create new processes for CalRecycle to evaluate, regulate, and permit waste-to-energy, or Engineered MSW, conversion facilities. Passing out of the Legislature today, AB 1126 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
Requiring a reduction of greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, AB 32 (Núñez, 2006) paved the way for innovative methods to emerge in response to California’s commitment to curb climate change.
Innovation in the MSW sector is one successful example of industries cultivating new environmentally friendly practices to lower pollution levels. However, existing permitting structures within CalRecycle are presenting unnecessary and unreasonable barriers to establishing Engineered MSW conversation facilities. As a result, stakeholders pursuing these waste-to-energy projects are experiencing excessive delays and burdensome entry requirements.
“Innovation and the use of alternative energy sources will play an instrumental role in meeting our commendable AB 32 goals,” said Assemblyman Gordon. “In this instance, innovation has surpassed existing law, and we must update code to ensure Engineered MWS facilities continue to thrive.”
Specifically, AB 1126 addresses barriers within CalRecycle by establishing a permitting pathway for Engineered MSW conversation facilities. This approach will provide a reasonable permitting structure that facilitates the development of new technologies and processes, while providing adequate oversight for the protection of public health and safety. Additionally, AB 1126 explicitly defines Engineered MSW conversion and would allow these facilities to replace fossil fuels, such as coal.
Passing through the Senate Monday on a 37 – 0 vote and through the Assembly on Concurrence today, AB 1126 now heads to the Governor’s desk. Governor Brown has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto the legislation.