Weekly News Bulletin: Jul. 11-17, 2002


Former WMI Execs Could Challenge SEC

Former executives at Waste Management Inc. (NYSE:WMI) may challenge Securities and Exchange Commission fraud allegations on the grounds that only one commissioner voted in the case. Earlier this month, an SEC administrative law judge threw out a case against accountants Ernst & Young (ERNY.UL) because only one commissioner voted to approve the case instead of the required votes by at least two commissioners. In March, the SEC filed a civil lawsuit against Dean Buntrock, founder and former chief executive of Waste Management and five other executives, alleging they inflated profits by $1.7 billion to meet earnings targets during the 1990s while profiting $29 million from bonuses and insider trading. The independent auditor for Houston-based Waste Management was Arthur Andersen (ANDR.UL), which was fined $7 million after a four-year investigation into its audit role in the company's accounting. In his attempt to block the SEC lawsuit, Buntrock filed his own lawsuit against the agency one month before the SEC sued the former executives, alleging conflict of interest. Buntrock alleged that two officials now at the SEC investigating him and the others were hired by his successor at Waste Management as consultants to look into the company's finances...Read More »



EPA Files Superfund Suit Against Denver, Waste Management

The EPA has filed a lawsuit against the city of Denver, Waste Management and several other firms, saying the parties owe more than $12 million for cleanup costs associated with an Arapahoe County Superfund site. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, involves the Lowry Landfill, a former industrial and municipal landfill that contains a toxic stew of solvents, waste oils, sewage sludge, hospital wastes and other hazardous throwaways. The complaint alleges that the federal Environmental Protection Agency spent millions of dollars on various cleanup steps at the site, including studying the extent of underground contamination. While Denver and Waste Management, which both operated the site in past decades, agree they owe some money, they argue that EPA hasn't justified the $12.3 million in costs cited in the suit. The EPA has already collected about $22 million from several companies for cleanup costs at Lowry. But the agency says it is owed additional money for work dating to the early 1980s. Also named in the suit are Chemical Waste Management Inc.; Adolph Coors Co.; Conoco Inc.; the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District; Roche Colorado Corp. and S.W. Shattuck Chemical Co. Inc...Read More »



Labor Department Orders EPA To Reinstate Ombudsman's Analyst

Federal labor officials ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reinstate a senior investigator to his former ombudsman-related duties, after he filed a whistleblower complaint. The EPA said it will appeal the finding by the Labor Department that Hugh Kaufman, a policy analyst for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, "suffered a continuing pattern of discrimination" over the past several years. Kaufman complained that he was barred from investigating cases for the ombudsman, whose job includes responding to complaints about handling the Superfund program. In April, the embattled ombudsman for EPA's hazardous waste office, Robert Martin, resigned rather than be transferred to working within the EPA inspector general's office, where he said would have no power...Read More »



Wisconsin DNR Tries To Dispose of Diseased Deer

Hunters are looking to kill every deer in one part of southwestern Wisconsin to halt an outbreak of a fatal disease. But state wildlife officials still don't know how they're going to dispose of the tens of thousands of unwanted carcasses. Cremation is too costly, and landfills won't accept the carcasses for burial. Other possibilities are dissolving them with chemicals or opening a state-owned landfill. The state Department of Natural Resources wants regular hunters and government sharpshooters to kill all the estimated 25,000 deer in a 361-square-mile area of Dane, Iowa and Sauk counties, where 18 deer with chronic wasting disease have been found since last fall. Dane County's landfill buried about 500 carcasses from a spring hunt that was intended to determine how far the disease had spread. Since then, however, the county has told the DNR it won't bury any more. A private landfill in Jefferson County also reversed its policy because of public objections. The cost of incinerating all the deer could reach $1 million, compared with $100,000 for burying them in a landfill...Read More »



Feds Will Give Alabama Town Gas Masks

The Bush administration has agreed to the state of Alabama's request for $5 million to buy gas mask-like hoods for some 35,000 people living near a chemical weapons incinerator the Army plans to begin operating in October. The decision means Anniston apparently will become the first American city where such gear has been distributed to the general population to guard against chemical agents. Residents would don the gear in case of an accident at the incinerator. Another $2.1 million is being used to buy protective suits for public safety workers who would have to respond to an accident. The incinerator will be used to destroy more than 2,200 tons of Cold War-era chemical agents. In Washington, about 20,000 similar hoods are being distributed on Capitol Hill in case of a terrorist attack involving chemical weapons or biological agents...Read More »



Foster Wheeler Names Doyle As CFO

Foster Wheeler Ltd. (NYSE: FWC) has announced the appointment of Joseph T. Doyle as senior vice president and chief financial officer. Most recently, Doyle was executive vice president and chief financial officer of US Office Products. Among his previous assignments, Doyle was the senior financial executive for industrial operations at the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and served as chief financial officer of the Allison Engine Company. He also held senior financial executive positions at General Dynamics, and was a partner at Peat, Marwick & Mitchell...Read More »



Georgia Coalition Plans To Improve In-State Recycling Efforts

The Georgia Recycling Coalition has announced a strategic plan to increase recycling in Georgia. The plan will focus on increasing recycling through innovative education and grant programs. Applicants must show how they plan to increase the amount they recycle, or must develop an innovative educational program to help increase recycling in their community. Cities, counties, schools and Keep Georgia Beautiful affiliates are eligible to apply for a total of $20,000, and approved applicants are eligible for up to $1,000 each from GRC...Read More »


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