Weekly News Bulletin: Jun. 13-19, 2002


Boston Recycling Bidders Fight Plans For "Living Wage"

Mayor Thomas M. Menino wants to have recycling in Boston and wants city contractors to pay a "living wage," but now it appears that both together are unlikely. The three companies bidding for the city's recycling contract are refusing to comply with Boston's living wage ordinance, which requires that city contractors pay workers $10.25--an amount that will jump to $10.54 starting July 1--more than twice the federal minimum wage. The city says there are no other bidders, so it faces the choice between ending recycling when the existing contract expires on June 30 or issuing a waiver that would allow the companies to pay an estimated $3 less per hour in wages...Read More »



South Carolina Blocks Shipments of Plutonium

South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges has ordered state troopers to stop any shipments of bomb-grade plutonium bound for the Energy Department's Savannah River Site nuclear complex in his state. The department is closing the Rocky Flats nuclear facility near Denver and wants to store plutonium in South Carolina until it is recycled into power plant fuel. Hodges sued, saying he fears the government won't build the recycling plant and will turn his state into "a dumping ground" for plutonium. A federal judge dismissed the suit, saying a blockade would be illegal and a target for terrorists...Read More »



Dell Announces Plans For Consumer Computer Recycling

Dell Computer will soon roll out a program to allow consumers to recycle their old computers. Under similar programs from other manufacturers, consumers pay a fee to the PC manufacturer to dispose of old equipment. The recycling program would join existing options for Dell customers looking to unload old PCs. Through its DellExchange system, set up in December 2000, consumers can trade in old computers or monitors regardless of the brand, sell the equipment via auction, or donate it to a nonprofit organization. Dell also offers recycling to corporate customers through its asset recovery services...Read More »



Florida-Based Ash Returns To Pennsylvania

A barge of globetrotting incinerator ash is about to end a 16-year journey by returning to a Pennsylvania landfill near its point of origin. The ash has spent the last two years on a rusted barge in the St. Lucie Canal in Martin County, Fla. But all 2,500 tons of the ash is going to be shipped to a landfill 50 miles southwest of Harrisburg, Pa. under a plan by Florida and Pennsylvania environmental regulators. Florida taxpayers will pay the $600,000-plus cost of disposal...Read More »



Bush Administration Relaxes Air Pollution Rules

The Bush administration will make it easier for power plants, refineries and other industrial facilities to expand without having to meet strict air pollution rules. The rules that would be relaxed are based on amendments made in 1977 to the Clean Air Act. They require older facilities that expand or modernize to install new pollution-control equipment. Such technology can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Under the new rules, utilities may be able to renovate plants without having to install pollution-control equipment. The change, according to the Environmental Protection Agency would allow companies to make their facilities cleaner and more energy-efficient and would not dirty the air...Read More »



Pennsylvania County May Be Sued Over Biosolids, Court Holds

A Center County, Pa. township can be sued for damages over an ordinance that restricts the use of biosolids to reclaim mine sites, a federal judge has ruled. In its ruling, the U.S. District Court in Williamsport allowed to proceed a lawsuit filed by Synagro Technologies Inc. against Rush Township that challenges the township's restrictive biosolids ordinance. The Court upheld the company's right to pursue claims that the ordinance violates the Constitution's interstate commerce provisions, but dismissed six other claims against the township. The lawsuit was filed in 2000 after the township passed the ordinance, which sets a $40 per ton fee on biosolids use. Synagro is seeking more than $2.75 million in damages...Read More »



Whitman Learned of Greenhouse Gas Report From Media

EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman has said she was not told in advance about a controversial Bush administration report that concluded greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity was the primary cause of global warming. The report caused a stir last week among environmentalists because it appeared to align the administration with scientists who believe vehicle emissions and pollution from power plants and oil refineries have caused global temperatures to rise. Whitman said she was not even aware of the study until news organizations reported it. Environmental groups have long questioned whether Whitman has a voice in setting administration environmental policies...Read More »



Bloomberg Suggests Possibilities For Saving NYC Recycling

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has suggested that a deal could be in the works to save part of the city¹s beleaguered recycling program. Bloomberg recently angered environmentalists and City Council members by proposing to stop glass, plastic, and metal recycling in a bid to save about $50 million. But he has hinted that he could bring back metal recycling. Paper recycling, which makes money, is not targeted for reduction. With the new fiscal year beginning July 1, the mayor and the Council have missed their own deadlines to agree on a $41.8 billion budget. The city is facing a shortfall of about $5 billion...Read More »



Baltimore Alters Recycling Program Pickups

When Baltimore revamped its recycling program in January, officials promised the changes would save money and streamline operations, and city statistics indicate that they have accomplished that, keeping recycling off the chopping block. According to city officials, the revised program, which picks up recyclables twice a month rather than weekly, is projected to cost $900,000 annually, half of what the program cost last year. It has freed up time for crews to clean up illegal dumping. And recycling has risen, from 3,312 tons from March through May last year to 3,572 tons during the same period this year...Read More »


Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin