ChevronTexaco Corp. (NYSE: CVX) has agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the small California town of Cambria, which accused the company of contaminating its water supply with a suspected carcinogen. The settlement brings to an end a three-year dispute. Chevron will continue state-monitored remediation efforts begun in Cambria in 2000 after an underground storage tank at a service station leaked methyl-tertiary-butyl ether into two of the five wells that supply the town with water.
Town attorneys said the MTBE settlement was one of the largest in the nation on a per capita basis. Environmentalists termed the spill one of the worst in California, which in 1999 ordered petroleum producers to phase out MTBE by this December because of statewide groundwater pollution problems. Cambria officials said the contamination forced them to place a moratorium on water permits in November of 2001, which suspended the homebuilding plans of 600 families. The city has begun developingplans for a water desalinization plant as a permanent solution for the contaminated wells...Read More »
President George W. Bush has taken to the road to defend the EPA's change in clean air rules as necessary to allow power plants to upgrade their equipment and keep the U.S. economy going. The rewrite of the New Source Review rules that govern upgrades to utilities, petroleum refiners and thousands of other facilities allows industry to make major plant upgrades without installing expensive pollution-reduction equipment, and lets older plants to operate beyond their intended life span. Bush says the policy needed to be changed to allow plants to upgrade quickly to improve their reliability, rather than progress through a complicated government review process. Several Democratic presidential candidates said the Senate should block confirmation of Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, Bush's choice for EPA Administrator, until the administration revises its clear air policy...Read More »
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty has urged Congress to oppose the inclusion of a "safe harbor" provision in U.S. energy legislation that essentially would grant manufacturers of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) immunity from claims that the fuel additive is "defective in design or manufacture." The move, McGinty says, would seriously undermine efforts to clean up groundwater and surface water contaminated by MTBE. In a letter to Congress, McGinty urged opposition of the MTBE immunity provision in the energy bill, noting that MTBE has been proven to pose risks to human health and contaminate groundwater...Read More »
The General Accounting Office has released the latest in a series of documents designed to identify problems with the U.S. Army's Chemical Demilitarization Program. The GAO reports that frequent turnover in leadership and the lack of a clear management plan have hampered the Department of Defense's plans to eliminate the nation's chemical weapons stockpile. According to the terms of an international treaty, the United States was supposed to have destroyed 45 percent of its stockpile of 31,280 tons of mustard gas, sarin, and other chemical weapons by next April. But the Pentagon has announced it will seek a delay until December 2007, which was the original deadline for destroying the entire stockpile of waste...Read More »
Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CWST) has reported financial results for the first quarter of its 2004 fiscal year. For the quarter ended July 31, 2003, the company reported revenues of $113.9 million, with net income per common share of $0.22 and operating income for the quarter was $10.4 million. The company generated negative free cash flow of $(1.5) million. As of July 31, 2003, the company had cash on hand of $5.7 million, and had an outstanding total debt level of $309.3 million...Read More »
Every year, Waste Management's Palmetto Landfill in Spartanburg County, S.C. takes in a million tons of garbage from a 75-mile radius. Waste Management officials say they need more space to take in waste, as the Palmetto Landfill has 5 to 6 years left at its current location. Waste Management is looking to build a new 1,000-acre landfill in Spartanburg County. It is willing to work a deal with Spartanburg County, although the county's Wellford Landfill still has 30 to 50 years of space left in it. The county now has three options: paying Allied Waste $3 million a year to haul the waste to Anderson County; pay Republic the same amount to haul the waste to Union; or receive $4 million from Waste Management during construction, then another $2.75 million a year in impact fees for a new Spartanburg landfill. Waste Management officials have said they will not specify a location for the landfill until the Spartanburg County Council gives an initial approval for a landfill to be built...Read More »
The Broward County, Fla. Health Department is undertaking a new study to analyze the health of residents near the former Wingate Landfill in Fort Lauderdale. The Health Department is randomly calling residents with a phone survey, looking to question at least 3,000 people about their health to determine if there is any relationship between the landfill and health difficulties. High rates of cancer, birth defects, asthma, and bronchitis have been found in the area surrounding the former landfill in prior studies. Officials are seeking to compare rates of illnesses in the Wingate community during the time when an incinerator at the landfill was active, and in the years since it was removed in 1978...Read More »