By Kara Herlihy

The Moretown Landfill has gas, enough garbage-generated methane gas to start an energy park, of sorts. If all goes to plan, the park will be up and running by summer 2008, and prevent the equivalent of 19,500 tons of carbon dioxide emission each year.

The Moretown Landfill is contracted with Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) to build a Renewable Energy Park, which turn harmful methane gas into usable energy.

Landfill manager Tom Badowski said that the Moretown Landfill will sell the usable methane gas to Pennsylvania Power and Light, which will generate electric energy that will be sold back 'to the grid.'

"Methane-to-energy systems at landfills have a dual benefit for the environment-they generate electricity from renewable fuel while also eliminating emissions of methane, a gas that contributes to global warming" according to a press release from the landfill.

Badowski said that 'once a certain amount of trash is in place, it creates a landfill gas, which is about 40-50% methane."

"The landfill will provide the 1.6 million cubic feet of methane gas from the 200-acre facility to power two Caterpillar engine generators. The power generated by the methane-to-energy facility will power the equivalent of 2,500 homes" the press release states.

The harmful carbon dioxide emissions prevented by the implementation of the energy park 'is equal to removing 27,000 cars from the road or planting 38,000 acres of new forest annually" it continues.

The project, which is well underway, still has to brave the permitting process, according to Badowski. Permits necessary include an Agency of Natural Resources air quality permit, a public service board permit, town zoning permits, and possibly an Act 250 permit.