A Need for Regulatory Reform
Existing California statutes and regulations offer an assortment of definitions and requirements regarding conversion technologies. However, many of the definitions are inconsistent, with some conversion technologies defined as incineration, others defined as composting, another defined incorrectly (gasification), and many others simply undefined. This situation has created uncertainty for permitting projects and makes it extremely challenging to obtain financing for new projects.
In 2012, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisor Don Knabe directing Public Works, in conjunction with the Chief Executive Office (CEO), to work with key stakeholders to pursue and support the passage of legislation and regulations to encourage development of conversion technologies, including appropriate incentives for producing renewable energy, reducing energy, reducing landfill disposal, and producing low-carbon fuels. For more information, you may download a copy of the motion and view the press release.
In 2013, Los Angeles County and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) co-sponsored Senate Bill 804 (Lara) which sought to expand the definition of biomass conversion to allow non-combustion technologies to be used to make low carbon fuels as well as renewable energy from biomass. The bill passed the legislature, however, despite his support of the purpose of the bill, Governor Brown vetoed it due to last minute amendments which he claimed made the bill unworkable.
Brown Signs Senate Bill 498 - In 2014, Los Angeles County and the California State Association of Counties continued their effort to expand the definition of biomass conversion in Senate Bill 498 (Lara) and on September 28, 2014 Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law. SB 498 adds non-combustion conversion technologies to the biomass definition, allowing for cleaner and more efficient non-combustion technologies to be used to make low-carbon fuels as well as renewable energy from biomass waste. Biomass is organic materials--such as wood, lawn and garden clippings, agricultural waste, leaves, tree pruning as well as non-recyclable paper and pulp--when separated from other solid waste. The language for the bill is available at the following link.
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