Weekly News Bulletin: Oct. 21-27, 2003


Senate Confirms Utah Governor Mike Leavitt to Head EPA

The Senate confirmed Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency by a substantial margin of 88-8. Ironically, this concludes a 4-month vacancy forced by Senate democrats determined to block the nomination on the grounds that President Bush was not serious about the environment. At one point, democrats even boycotted an important committee meeting chaired by Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK., of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, was the most critical, at one point declaring "Despite his commentary about balance and stewardship, Gov. Leavitt's record ... reveals a disturbing tendency to place shortsighted economic gain of regulated industries above protecting the long-term health of the public." Sen. Hillary Clinton was also a vocal opponent, demanding that the EPA answer for omissions in its report of contaminates at Ground Zero in New York. The nominee was helped by his three terms as governor, during which he gained a reputation as an affable and competent manager and molded alliances among Senate Democrats who are Westerners or former governors...Read More »



Allied Waste Reports 3RD Quarter Earnings

Allied Waste Industries, Inc. (NYSE: AW) today reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2003. Revenues for the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2003 were $1.394 billion and $4.032 billion, respectively compared with $1.297 billion and $4.000 billion in the same period of 2002. Operating income for the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2003 was $286 million and $811 million, compared with $334 million and $933 million in 2002. Cash flow from operations for the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2003 was $253 million and $630 million, respectively compared with $315 million and $761 million in 2002. Management was able to reduce its debt by $146 million over the quarter. Management blamed a challenging economic environment in which increasing costs outpaced its ability to raise prices...Read More »



Former Waste Management Execs Settle SEC Suit

Two former top executives at Waste Management Inc. (NYSE: WMI) will pay $4.2 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations they profited from insider trading. Former President Rodney Proto and former Chief Financial Officer Earl DeFrates agreed to the settlement without admitting or denying the agency's claims. The SEC said the managers sold Waste Management stock in mid-1999 with the knowledge that the firm had inflated its quarterly income with unreported one-time gains. Regulators have estimated the stock received a 17% boost, increasing quarterly earnings by nine cents a share. Proto agreed to repay $3.7 million in penalties, interest and losses avoided by the sale, while DeFrates will pay $482,779. Both men also will be barred from serving as a corporate officer or director for five years. Bruce Snyder Jr., Waste Management's former chief accounting officer, was charged with insider trading in a separate SEC lawsuit, which charges he engaged in insider trading and signed off on a misleading quarterly report the company filed in December 1999. The company noted in a press release that it has made significant changes to both its leadership team and its business operations since 1999...Read More »



Atlanta Mayor Seeks Extension on Landfill Closure Date

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin has contacted the office of Georgia Gov. Sonny Purdue seeking to delay the state-ordered closure of the Live Oak Landfill in Dekalb County. Atlanta is working to come up with an alternative, but wants the landfill to remain open in the meantime. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, local residents have complained that the landfill hurts property values, attracts vectors, and taints local air and water. The landfill takes about 250,000 tons of waste a year...Read More »



Virginia Tries To Close Allegedly Illegally-Operating Landfill

Virginia officials are working to shut down a Shenandoah Valley landfill they contend is illegally accepting hundreds of tons of waste a day from Delaware, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and elsewhere along the East Coast. The Washington Post has reported that Virginia officials believe the Battle Creek Landfill in Page County was responsible for 25 percent of the increase in the state's out-of-state waste flow last year. The state is seeking tens of thousands of dollars in fines against the Battle Creek Landfill because it accepts almost 1,500 tons of trash daily on a permit that has a 250-ton limit. County officials dispute the 250-ton limit and are fighting to continue the importation...Read More »



Hawaii County Considers Landfill Compaction Plans

Hawaii County, Hawaii officials are looking to learn more about possible compaction of the Hilo landfill that would gain as much as 55 vertical feet of airspace. The county's Environmental Management Department has met with Pacific Waste and Shaw/Emcon/OWT Inc. It is possible that the 155-foot-high landfill could be recompacted down to 100 feet high. The state Department of Health has set a maximum height of 190 feet for the landfill, and that figure could be met by the end of 2004. The unlined landfill was required to close in 1993, but the county has successfully sought extensions since then...Read More »



American Ecology Reports Quarterly Earnings

American Ecology Corp.'s. (NasdaqNM: ECOL) third-quarter net income has risen 218%, a reflection of strong performance at its Grand View, Idaho, disposal facility and improving disposal volumes at its other facilities. The company is reporting net earnings of $3.5 million or 20 cents a share in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to $1.1 million or 6 cents a year earlier. American Ecology's revenues for the third quarter rose 57% to $17.3 million, compared to the $11 million for the same quarter last year. A large remediation project shipped to the company's Grand View disposal facility and revenue increases at the company's Richland, Wash. and Robstown, Texas, disposal facilities accounted for the quarterly increase in revenue...Read More »



Gundle/SLT Reports Third-Quarter Results

Gundle/SLT Environmental, Inc. (NYSE: GSE) has announced net income of $11.2 million or $.92 per share for the third quarter ended September 30, 2003, compared to net income of $13.0 million, or $1.11 per share, for the third quarter last year. Last year's net income for the third quarter included an extraordinary gain of $4.1 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, from the sale of assets and transactions involved in the acquisition of Serrot International, Inc...Read More »



Broward County, Fl. Settles BFI Lawsuit

Broward County, Florida will receive $280,000 and an upgrade to its recycling center as a result of a settlement with Browning-Ferris Industries over the disposal of area waste. BFI is turning over its hauling contracts in unincorporated areas of the county to Waste Management, which will provide the upgrades to the recycling center, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. In June, Broward County won a federal court victory requiring waste to be disposed of at its two incinerators. A judge found that the county did not violate the commerce clause when requiring the waste from unincorporated areas to go to the incinerators as part of a hauling contract...Read More »



Waste Connections Announces Third-Quarter Earnings

Waste Connections, Inc. (NYSE: WCN) has announced third quarter earnings of $0.56 per share on 33.0 million shares, an increase of 9.8% over earnings per share of $0.51 in the third quarter of 2002. Revenue for the third quarter of 2003 was $146.2 million, a 9.5% increase over revenue of $133.5 million in the third quarter of 2002. Operating income for the third quarter of 2003 was $37.8 million, an 8.2% increase over operating income of $34.9 million in the third quarter of 2002. In the third quarter, the company closed acquisitions with total annualized revenue of approximately $43 million, and expanded its landfill network by four sites...Read More »


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