CleanWorld News

Landmark CA Organic Waste Legislation Signed by Gov

Posted at September 30, 2014

Sacramento, CA

California Governor Jerry Brown this week signed AB 1826 (organics recycling), AB 1594 (green waste ADC) and SB 498 (biomass conversion) into law.  Together, these new laws are a huge step forward for bioenergy resource development in California, for the pursuit of diverting organics away from landfills more generally, and toward helping to address serious climate change impacts in the state. 

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cwcapitolphotosmallAB 1594, which when combined with Wesley Chesbro’s bill AB 1826 (See our August press release about these bills), helps to provide certainty and direction for what to do with the state’s more than 15 millions tons of organic waste that has been going to landfills. These new laws help turn the table on organic waste methane emissions — from a dangerous greenhouse gas that is 84% more toxic than carbon emissions — to a valuable new fuel source for California’s transportation and green energy sectors.

Julia Levin of the Bioenergy Association of California has said, that “California consumes approximately 15 billion gallons of fuel per year, 3 billion of which is diesel. If the organic waste in California were to be recycled using commercially available biogas technology, that would yield a displacement of 82% of the 3 billion gallons of diesel, or 2.5 2 billion gallons of very low carbon fuels, enough to meet the state’s current low carbon fuel standard and generate $7.4 billion dollars in revenue.”

California is leading the way, and CleanWorld has been a proud partner with our industry and policy colleagues who have long understood that organic waste is the new gold.

California recently also adopted (May 2014) the First Update to CA’s AB 32 Scoping Plan, which is the guiding framework for how the state will achieve its greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Congressional leader John Garamendi "cutting the ribbon" on CleanWorld's high-solids anaerobic digester at UC Davis, April 22, 2014.

Congressional leader John Garamendi “cutting the ribbon” on CleanWorld’s high-solids anaerobic digester at UC Davis, April 22, 2014.

The First Update of the Scoping Plan was adopted by CARB on May 22, 2014, following the release of President Obama’s new Climate Action Plan which makes multiple references to California’s leadership role, and which will depend heavily on states devising individual approaches to meeting goals set in the nation’s capital.

CARB reports, “This First Update includes strengthening the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, increasing the use of different waste alternative technologies such as anaerobic digestion (AD), and a push towards achieving Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by the mid-term.” (June 2014, CARB News)

Also recently just released is the “Biogas Opportunities Roadmap,” detailing how an additional 11,000 anaerobic digestion plants could create huge emissions savings by using biogas to either produce energy from waste, or as transport fuel. Having both Federal and State priority direction at the same time is a key moment in the development of the bioenergy industry.  

All of the 2014 organic waste and biogas policies put into effect in California will go a long way toward helping policy and community leaders, as well as industry, change its thinking and behavior about organic waste as a waste stream.

California is now a state where in the past our actions have demonstrated we see organic waste as something we have to manage — today we move toward actions which clearly reflect California embraces organic waste as a valuable resource, as a critical, beneficial tool to achieving our Low Carbon fuel goals and climate adaptation objectives, which include increasing fuel security, improving the health and safety of our most disadvantaged populations, and greening our economic sectors.

See also new about the Biogas Investment Tax Credit Act of 2014 (S. 2739).