Weekly News Bulletin: Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2002


Waste Management Shares Fall on Fourth-Quarter Report

The price for Waste Management's (Houston, TX) stock fell nearly 13% from $28.82 to $25.13 per share on February 1 following the company's announcement that its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2001 would fall short of expectations. Waste Management reported fourth-quarter earnings per diluted share in the range of $0.30 to $0.31; analysts had projected earnings at $0.34 per share. Waste Management also said that it has initiated a stock repurchase program under which the company will buy back up to $1 billion of its shares annually for the foreseeable future...Read More »



GE, EPA Appear Ready To Move on Hudson Dredging

Facing few options, General Electric Co. is likely to go along with an order from the Environmental Protection Agency demanding the dredging of tons of toxic PCBs from the Hudson River. Last Friday, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman signed the final record of decision, making official the plan that was first put forth 14 months ago by the Clinton administration. The cleanup along a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River north of Albany, N.Y., is one of the largest such dredging operations ever. GE opposes the dredging, which would cost it some $500 million. The company says that dredging sediment could stir up the PCBs from the river bed and into the moving river water, making the problem worse. GE dumped 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the river from its plants in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, N.Y., north of Albany, before the federal government banned the substance in 1977. EPA classifies PCBs as a probable carcinogen and says they pose a risk to people who eat fish from the Hudson. The EPA blueprint now enters the three-year design stage, where the engineering details to scoop out the PCBs will be worked out. The plan calls for dredging 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment < enough to fill about 40 football fields 30 feet deep < which is expected to remove 150,000 pounds of PCBs...Read More »



Waste Management Provides Credits at Olympics

Waste Management Inc. (NYSE:WMI) today announced the donation of all of the 120,000 metric tons carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emission reduction credits needed to off-set additional CO2 emissions from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Waste Management's donation is part of the Olympic Cleaner and Greener Program -- an environmental program that will create the first games in Olympic history to have a net zero effect on the air quality of a host city. The program, created by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, will help mitigate the environmental impact to Salt Lake City's air quality during the games. The credits donated by Waste Management will offset the 120,000 tons of CO2 emissions that are anticipated from the games -- due to increased transportation, and electrical and generator use in Salt Lake City. The donations will be made equally from landfill sites in Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Montreal...Read More »



Republic Reports Decline in Income, Rise in Revenue

Republic Services Inc. (NYSE:RSG) has reported that its adjusted net income fell 16 percent in the fourth quarter, as revenue rose 6.5 percent. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company reported fourth-quarter adjusted net income of $47.2 million, or 28 cents per share, versus $56.5 million, or 33 cents a share a year earlier. Fourth-quarter revenues totaled $563.5 million, compared with $529.1 million a year before. Including a fourth-quarter non-cash, after-tax charge of $86.1 million, primarily related to exiting certain markets and non-core businesses, the company reported a quarterly net loss of $38.9 million, or 23 cents per share. The company said it expects to report earnings, excluding goodwill amortization, of $1.37 to $1.39 in 2002...Read More »



Vail Ski Resort Could Face Wetlands Fine

Vail Associates, owner of the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado, could face a fine of nearly $200,000 for illegal destruction of wetlands at its resort in 1998 and 1999, according to a confidential EPA letter to company officials last year. The letter, dated March 29, 2001, and obtained by the Rocky Mountain News last week, warned Vail that the Environmental Protection Agency intended to seek the penalty in response to the company's construction of a logging road through 300 to 400 feet of wetlands. Since then, the parties have started settlement talks. Vail has long maintained it did not intentionally break the law, and there has been no comment from the EPA on possible fines...Read More »



EPA Proposes Johnston Atoll Cleanup Permit

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced its proposal to renew the Air Force's permit to clean up Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Since the 1960s, Johnston Atoll has served as a site for nuclear weapons testing and a storage facility for chemical waste. The EPA proposed a 10-year permit for the Air Force, which ensures that the Air Force will safely clean up the contamination. The EPA said the Air Force will stop treatment and storage of chemicals on the island...Read More »



Pennsylvania Congratulates National Gypsum for Pollution Prevention

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has congratulated National Gypsum on its pollution prevention efforts at its wallboard manufacturing facility in Shippingport, Beaver County. Ninety-nine percent of the content of the wallboard manufactured there comes from recycled material, and more than 440,000 tons a year of scrubber sludge from the Bruce Mansfield power plant is used at the plant. In 2001, wallboard waste was reduced by 8,960 square feet per day. The 215 winners of the Pennsylvania Governor's Environmental Excellence Award permanently reduced wastewater by 5.2 billion gallons, solid waste by 122 million tons and air emissions by 112 million tons. They have saved more than 78 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, and have reduced their own costs by $648 million, state officials said...Read More »



U.S., Williams Subsidiary Settle Pipeline Case

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp. has reached a settlement with the federal government to clean soil and groundwater contamination along the company's 10,500-mile natural gas pipeline that stretches across 12 states from Texas to New York, according to the Justice Department. The settlement is the latest enforcement action by the Environmental Protection Agency against the natural gas industry involving hazardous waste violations. The Justice Department pursued the company on behalf of the EPA. Transco, a subsidiary of Texas-based Williams Cos. Inc. (NYSE:WMB), will also pay a $1.4 million civil penalty for the polychlorinated biphenyl contamination at compressor stations along the pipeline. The compressor stations are used to pull the natural gas through the pipeline. From the 1950s to the mid-1980s, Transco disposed of pipeline wastes in unlined earthen pits and debris areas at its 53 compressor stations. Often the wastes, including PCB-containing lubricants, were burned in the pits...Read More »



EPA Finds Aging Sewer Systems Need Money

More than 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage pours into waterways each year from aging sewer systems designed to overflow when it rains, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced. Two-thirds of the 772 communities that rely on these systems don't comply with minimum federal standards, prompting "serious public health and water concerns," the EPA said in a report required by Congress under a 2000 law. Cities with newer systems are designed to treat all sewage. Most of the raw sewage discharged by the older systems spews into rivers and streams, but some also flows into ditches and canals, oceans and lakes. Those systems are among the earliest such facilities built in the United States, moving sewage and storm water through a single-pipe system to a public treatment plant. They are spread among 32 states, most of them in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast. The cost of bringing all the older systems into compliance was estimated at $45 billion in 1996...Read More »


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