Weekly News Bulletin: Mar. 14-20, 2002


WTC Car Return Hits EPA Roadblock

Concerns about asbestos-tainted dust have halted New York City's plan to return hundreds of cars towed from streets around the World Trade Center to their owners. A New York Daily News report about the dangerous coating of asbestos on the cars prompted federal environmental officials to step in. In a recent article, The News revealed that tests on the vehicles show that as much as 3% of the dust is asbestos, more than three times the level that triggers federal cleanup rules. Many of the cars have little body damage < and thus nothing would stop scheming owners from rinsing them off and selling them to unwitting buyers. A New Jersey company that examined seven cars estimated it would cost $3,600 to professionally clean each one...Read More »



Dingell Seeks Canadian Waste Notification

U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) wants to force Canada to notify the Environmental Protection Agency about trash it ships to the United States. Canada and the United States signed an agreement in 1986 that was amended in 1992, stating that the EPA would be notified of garbage shipments coming into the country. But researchers discovered that over the past 10 years the Canadian government has failed to keep the EPA abreast of the shipments and the U.S. government has not enforced the agreement. EPA officials are looking into the issue. Dingell wants the import terms met, or Canadian companies to stop sending trash to Michigan. About 20 percent of all trash in Michigan is imported...Read More »



EPA, Companies Work Toward Alabama PCB Settlement

Three companies found liable for widespread PCB contamination in the Anniston, Alabama area have reached an agreement with the federal government on measures to develop a cleanup plan. After at least a year of talks, a consent decree with Solutia, Monsanto and Pharmacia and the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department could be signed soon. The agreement would force the companies to conduct a long-term Superfund evaluation of all the possible cancer-causing PCBs that leaked from the former Monsanto plant in western Anniston. The signing would keep the polluted site off the National Priorities List. In a state civil case filed by Anniston residents, Monsanto was found liable for property damage last month along with Solutia, a spin-off that now operates the plant, and Pharmacia, formed after Monsanto merged with Pharmacia & Upjohn in 2000. The amount they should pay the plaintiffs has not yet been determined. Under the consent decree, it could take several years for EPA to make a final decision on how much the companies must pay for a comprehensive cleanup...Read More »



Whitman Defends Superfund Cutbacks

EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman has defended the Bush administration¹s decision to cut in half the number of polluter-pays cleanups. Whitman said the fewer sites arise from having to spread the same amount of money each year for more costly, more complex and larger sites. At the same time, Congress and the Bush administration have been reluctant to reimpose a Superfund tax on polluters and other businesses. The special tax on the oil and chemical industries and other businesses that process or use toxic substances expired in 1995. Since then, the Superfund trust fund financed by the tax has dwindled from a high of $3.6 billion in 1996 to a projected $28 million at the end of next year. President Bush proposed in the budget he submitted last month that the shrinking trust fund pay $593 million of this year's projected $1.3 billion in cleanup costs for sites where responsible parties either cannot be found or are bankrupt, with the remaining $700 million to come from the Treasury. About 40 Superfund cleanups a year are expected to be completed during the Bush administration; 47 were done last year. More than 80 sites were cleaned up during each of the last four years of the Clinton administration...Read More »



Earth Tech Wins Potential $100 Million EPA Contract

Earth Tech, a business unit of Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC) has won a contract to provide emergency rapid response services for the Environmental Protection Agency's Region VI, consisting of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. The contract is valued at $100 million over the course of five years, and may also be used to respond to environmental cleanup incidents along the border region into Mexico. Under this contract, Earth Tech will provide engineering services; design and construction management; hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste removal/treatment; sampling and analysis; spill control; excavation; drum handling; tank cleaning; building decontamination; demolition; waste treatment, transportation and disposal; and restoration at Superfund sites. In addition, Earth Tech will respond to natural disaster or terrorist activities as they pertain to environmental cleanup...Read More »



Tucson Will Institute Weekly Recyclables Pickup

The city of Tucson will begin picking up garbage and recyclables once a week, starting this summer, and the entire city will have weekly garbage and recycling collection by December. Until city residents are provided a 90-gallon rollaway recycling bin, they will continue to receive garbage collection twice a week and recycling pickup every other week. After that, residents will have to sort their waste into two bins, one for garbage headed for the landfill, another for items that can be recycled. Vice Mayor Carol West said she hopes the change will boost recycling in Tucson from a rate of 9 percent to 27 percent...Read More »



BFI Sues New Jersey Over Blocked Solid Waste Plan

BFI Transfer Systems of New Jersey (Linden) has filed a lawsuit claiming that current and former New Jersey regulators illegally blocked Union County¹s efforts to include a Linden site in the county¹s solid waste management plant. BFI, which is seeking potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, said that its proposed $60-million marine transfer facility at the Linden location would help reduce waste-hauling traffic from New York City through New Jersey to landfills in Pennsylvania and Virginia...Read More »


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