A federal judge has temporarily halted a Bush administration plan to reshuffle the office of the Environmental Protection Agency's hazardous waste ombudsman. U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts issued a temporary restraining order against the government until a full hearing on the matter can be scheduled. The order remains in effect until Feb. 26. Robert Martin, who handles citizen complaints on waste and Superfund matters, has asked the court to block EPA Administrator Christie Whitman from moving the ombudsman's office to the EPA's Inspector General's Office. Martin contends the move would weaken his independence within the agency. He said in court papers the action was being taken because he has been an outspoken critic of corporations' influence in Superfund cases, large environmental cleanups that involve the worst types of hazardous waste...Read More »
Federal prosecutors in Northern California are cracking down on salmon snatchers, illegal trail cutters, oil dumpers and other polluters. The U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco has gone from being the worst in the country for prosecuting environmental crimes to one of the best at a time when the Justice Department is pursuing more pollution prosecutions than ever. In no area has the increase been more dramatic than Northern California. The office has steadily increased its environmental criminal caseload in recent years, from filing six cases in 1998 to more than 36 last year, according to the records obtained by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. That is a major increase from 1986 through 1997, when only four cases were filed in the region. Nationally, federal prosecutions of environmental crimes increased three-fold from 1998 through 2001, from around 300 a year to more than 900 cases last year...Read More »
The Bush administration will propose doubling spending next year on cleaning up abandoned industrial sites in urban areas. The administration's budget proposal for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 will seek $102 million more than the $98 million Congress appropriated this year for cleaning up so-called brownfields. Congress in December approved a five-year program awarding up to $250 million a year to state and local governments and Indian tribes for cleaning up some 450,000 polluted industrial sites, including $50 million annually for administrative costs. After raising the spending level to $200 million, EPA officials said the administration may propose spending the full $250 million in fiscal 2004. So far the government has handed out $2 million of the $98 million available this year. Ten recipients, ranging from nonprofit groups to local governments such as the District of Columbia, are getting $200,000 each for a brownfields job training pilot program...Read More »
VERSAR, Inc. (Amex: VSR) expects to report record operating income of approximately $1 million for its second quarter of fiscal year 2002, ended December 31, 2001. Operating income for the second quarter of fiscal year 2002 should represent a 79 percent increase over the results of the second quarter of fiscal year 2001, and a $1.17 million increase over the results recorded in the first quarter of fiscal year 2002. VERSAR also expects gross revenues for the second quarter of fiscal year 2002 to increase by over 20 percent from the first quarter of fiscal year 2002 to approximately $18.3 million. The increase in sales is primarily due to the company's Homeland Defense initiatives, which to date have resulted in booked new orders approaching $4 million. The increase in business volume significantly improved the company's labor utilization and pushed the company's operating income for the quarter to the highest level in VERSAR's history. Since early October 2001, the company has experienced a substantial increase in business activities in its Homeland Defense business segment due to the recent anthrax outbreak and other terrorist concerns...Read More »
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency¹s Region 5 recently filed a complaint against Milsolv Minnesota Corp. for alleged violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. A $358,678 fine is proposed. In the complaint, EPA alleges that the Milsolv facility in Roseville, Minn., treated hazardous waste without a permit for the years 1998- 2000. The waste treatment violation was first discovered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Ramsey County in March 1999. Milsolv, headquartered in Menominee, Wis., treats and distributes products made from chemicals...Read More »
Envirogen, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENVG) has been awarded a patent directed to its trademarked Clean-In-Place system for in situ filter cleaning. The Clean-In-Place system facilitates ease of operation through reduced demand for operator intervention during filter cleaning procedures and is particularly beneficial in conjunction with membrane biological reactors. Company officials noted that while the system is obviously well suited to membrane installations, the system is also appropriate for use with a wide range of permeates and filters. Envirogen is a broad-based environmental systems and services company providing its customers with the lowest total project cost for environmental protection. Envirogen provides cost-effective means to remove pollutants from the air, water and soil...Read More »
Hi-Rise Recycling Systems, Inc. (OTCBB:HIRI) has sold its Architectural Specified Services Division, excluding the Canadian operations, to Wilkinson-Hi-Rise, LLC, a North Carolina limited liability company, for an aggregate purchase price equal to $15 million in cash plus the assumption by Wilkinson-Hi-Rise of specified liabilities of the Architectural Division. The company has retained its Solid Waste Division, which now constitutes substantially all of the company's business, and has maintained its main headquarters in Miami, Florida. The company used the $15 million proceeds received from the sale to decrease its existing debt obligation to its senior lender...Read More »
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and PSEG Fossil have announced a voluntary agreement that calls for a 15 percent reduction in the carbon dioxide emissions rate at in-state fossil-fueled power plants and a $1.5 million grant to NJDEP to assist in the development of landfill gas projects. Under terms of the agreement, PSEG Fossil will reduce the aggregate CO2 emissions rate from all coal, natural gas, and oil-fired power plants it owns or operates in New Jersey from a 1990 baseline of 1,706 pounds per megawatt hour to 1,450 pounds per megawatt hour by 2005. NJDEP Commissioner Bob Shinn said the state's 15% annual green power purchase of electricity produced by renewable resources delivers 46,000 tons of annual CO2 emissions reductions, and is the largest government green power purchase in the country. PSEG Power and PSE&G are subsidiaries of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (NYSE: PEG), a diversified energy and energy services company...