ABC urges lawmakers to support AD-related bills in Maryland

By Erin Voegele | March 25, 2019

On March 25, Patrick Serfass, executive director of the American Biogas Council, sent letters to state lawmakers in Maryland expressing support for two pieces of legislation that would benefit the state’s biogas industry.

The first letter expresses support for HB 510, a bill that aims to ensure food waste is recycled in an organics recycling facility, such as an anaerobic digester or composting facility.  

A summary of HB 510 published by the Maryland General Assembly explains that the bill prohibits the owner or operator of a refuse disposal system from accepting loads of separately collected organic waste for final disposal unless the owner or operator provides for the organics recycling of the organic waste.

The bill was passed by the Maryland House on March 13 by a vote of 132 to 0. The legislation is now being considered by the Senate. A hearing is scheduled to take place March 26.

“This bill has the potential to greatly support growth of the biogas industry in Maryland,” said Serfass in the letter supporting HB 510. “Currently, Maryland has 25 operational biogas systems, but we see the potential for more than 38 new biogas projects to be developed. Constructing this many projects would generate about $114 million in capital investment, and create 950 short-term construction jobs, 76 long-term jobs, and numerous industry-supporting jobs. If fully realized, these biogas systems could produce enough electricity to power 164,477 homes (1.9 billion kWh) or enough renewable natural gas to fuel 275,820 vehicles. They would also collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 9 trillion tons of carbon dioxide, the same as growing 35 million tree seedlings for 10 years or the amount 1,169,190 acres of U.S. American forest sequester each year.”

The second letter expresses support for HB 511, a bill that aims to alter the definition of soil conditioner to include the digestate produced by anaerobic digestion for purposes of the Maryland Commercial Fertilizer Law. That bill passed the Maryland House on March 11 by a vote of 128 to 0. The legislation is now being considered by the Senate, with a hearing also scheduled for March 26.

Full copies of the HB 510 letter and HB 511 letter can be downloaded from the ABC website.