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Solar on Landfills: A Win for the Environment

Date : Mon, 23 Aug 2010 14:12:14 -0400

For Immediate Release
August 23, 2010 Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director, 609-558-9100

Solar on Landfills: A Win for the Environment Senate Passes Important Bill by a vote of 34 - 0

The Sierra Club strongly supports S2126, a bill that allows for solar farms to be put on landfills. The bill, which the Senate passed today by a vote of 34-0, will clean up landfills and turn them into sites that produce clean energy.

Solar farms on landfills will have many environmental benefits. First, the cap placed over the landfills would help stop leaking. Second, by generating solar energy, New Jersey will be producing clean electricity and promoting green jobs. There are an abundance of abandoned landfills throughout the state - more than 80 are in the Pinelands alone.

The bill has criteria to require environmental standards and protection in the development of these solar farms on landfills. To do nothing would continually allow these sites to leach toxins into our groundwater and environment.

"This is even better than taking lemons and making lemonade; it's taking toxic leachate and turning it into clean energy," New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said. "Between the solar panels and the use of methane for energy, we're turning these blighted landfills into clean energy production facilities."

There are several reasons the Club supports this bill:

* Landfills need to be capped to prevent leachate and toxins from getting into our groundwater and streams.

* Capping will prevent methane from getting into our air. Methane at landfills is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses. A methane collection system would allow methane to be turned into electricity.

* Developing the site for solar panels will limit human use, and considering the contents of many landfills is unknown and landfills tend to leach over time, limiting human contact is a good public health decision.

* A cap is a good place for a solar farm since it is impervious and not a good medium to grow trees. Furthermore, vegetation on uncapped landfills draw toxics from the landfill and respire those toxins though the roots and out the leaves.

* Putting solar panels on landfills would not limit the ability to put solar on other developed sites, like box stores.

* These landfills will never return to a natural state because they have been so impacted by man and dumping.

* The implementation of solar on landfills around New Jersey could be a significant source of energy during times of peak load.

"This is an important bill for green jobs and the environment," Tittel said. "These landfills are polluting the environment. By putting solar farms on them, we'll take an environmental blight and turn it into a positive for the people of New Jersey."

Kara Seymour, Program Assistant NJ Sierra Club 145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618 609.656.7612 (f) 609.656.7618  <http://www.newjersey.sierraclub.org/> www.newjersey.sierraclub.org   Received on 2010-08-23 11:12:14

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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