Weekly News Bulletin: Dec. 11-17, 2006


EPA Acknowledges Possibility of Dropping Health Standards for Lead Air Pollution

A preliminary staff review released by the Environmental Protection Agency this week acknowledged the possibility of dropping the health standards for lead air pollution. Battery makers, lead smelters, refiners all have lobbied the administration to do away with the Clean Air Act limits. The EPA says that concentrations of lead in the air have dropped by more than 90 percent in the past 2 1/2 decades. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, called on the agency to "renounce this dangerous proposal immediately."...Read More »



Casella's Second Quarter Revenues Are Up but Profits Down

Casella Waste Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CWST) reported that despite an 8% jump in year over year revenues, profits for the second quarter declined by 43% on increased costs. This was still better than analysts had expected. Revenues for the quarter, which ended October 31, increased to $147.8 million from $136.8 million a year ago. Operating income was up nearly 6% to $14.6 million from $13.8 million but net income dropped to $2.4 million (or $0.06 per share) from $4.2 million (or $0.13 per share) in the same period a year ago...Read More »



Standard & Poors Gives Two Thumbs Up To Waste Management Industry

Standard & Poors reiterated its positive outlook for the waste management industry estimating average earnings growth of 10% for 2006 and 2007. While they see continued improvement in volumes, in line with GDP growth, they see pricing initiatives as the primary engine of organic growth. The recent decline in fuel costs will benefit margins, however the volatility of those costs implies that surcharges and hedging programs are likely to remain in place. With the major haulers seeking and getting broad based price increases in new customer contracts, they are emboldened to risk the loss of market share in exchange of price increases across the board and are likely to bolster their position with enhanced customer service...Read More »



As Inhofe Departs, He Won't be Missed by Boxer

Sen. Barbara Boxer, the incoming chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is beginning to lay the groundwork on her agenda and subcommittees. She replaces outgoing Sen. James Inhofe who has called global warming a "hoax" and recently blamed Hollywood and the media for "hyping" the view that humans are causing global warming. Conversely, Boxer plans to call Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to testify about California's new law requiring all businesses to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. She has told reporters that she is also inviting former Vice President Al Gore, who is the author of "An Inconvenient Truth," and New York Republican Gov. George Pataki, who has led that state's efforts to curb carbon dioxide -- to testify before the committee...Read More »



Stockpiled Scrap Tires Down 80 Percent Since 1990

According to a report by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, nearly 87 percent of disposed tires each year are put to a new use. This is a dramatic improvement from 1990 when only 11 percent of scrap tires were reclaimed. The largest markets for scrap tires include: ground rubber, which is used in athletic and recreational surfaces, rubber-modified asphalt, carpet underlay, flooring material, dock bumpers and railroad crossing blocks. Another market includes civil engineering projects such as road and landfill construction, septic tank leach fields and other construction applications. The largest market and leading use of scrap tires is as Tire-derived fuel (TDF), especially as a supplemental fuel for cement kilns, electric utilities and pulp and paper mills...Read More »



PET Recycling Rate Up For Second Straight Year

Recent figures from the National Association for PET Container Resources and the Association of Post-consumer Plastic Recyclers show that PET recycling rates reached 23.1 percent last year, up from 21.6 percent the previous year. The total collected amount was 1.170 billion pounds of PET containers collected in 2005. The report also noted that the volume of PET containers available for domestic recycling purposes increased by 9.4 percent to 5.075 million pounds. This growth was driven primarily by strong sales of still water and isotonic beverages...Read More »



Waste Services Announces $100 Million Term Loan Financing

Waste Services Inc. (Nasdaq: WSII) announced a plan to increase the term loans under its existing senior secured credit facility by $100 million. Proceeds from the loans will be used to fund previously announced acquisitions of Pro Disposal and the SLD Landfill in Florida, among other purposes...Read More »



Nuclear Waste Management is a High Priority for Energy Department and Power Industry

Management of nuclear waste is high on the list for both the Energy Department and the nuclear power industry. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will do what he can to keep any legislation that would help Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository off the Senate floor. DOE officials pledge to keep pressing for the Yucca Mountain repository, particularly for the department's effort to submit its license application in mid-2008 for an anticipated 2017 or 2020 opening...Read More »



Toronto Considers Waste-to-Energy to Deal with Residential Construction Waste

The City of Toronto may consider waste-to-energy incineration for its residential construction waste. Studies have found no significant difference in human health effects or impact on the environment between a landfill site and a waste-to-energy incinerator. Burning municipal solid waste can generate energy while reducing the amount of waste by up to 90 per cent in volume and 75 per cent in weight...Read More »



CRRA Members Stake Full Claim To $21 Million

The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority could return part of the tentative $21 million settlement of a lawsuit against lawyers involved in a failed $220 million loan made to Enron in 2001 to 70 member towns that claim they're paying higher fees because of the failed loan. As of March, the authority had managed to recoup $111 million from distribution of Enron's assets. The towns want the entire $21 million returned to them, claiming that the towns, not CRRA, have paid, through higher tipping fees, for the losses incurred by the Enron failed loan...Read More »



Group Wants NatureWorks to Solve Problems before Introducing New Bottle

A group of recyclers and organizations has called on NatureWorks to place a moratorium on PLA bottles. A PLA bottle is the new bio-based plastic bottle introduced by NatureWorks. PLA can substitute for PET bottles in some uses, including bottled water. Because the two resins are incompatible, the PLA bottle poses significant problems for PET recyclers and could significantly undermine recycling's economics by disrupting successful PET recovery programs and by losing the high value in the PET bottles it displaces...Read More »



American Ecology Indicates Earnings Estimates for 2007

American Ecology Corp. (Nasdaq: ECOL) management said that they expect the Company to generate earnings of between $0.92 and $1.02 per share in fiscal 2007, below the Wall Street consensus of $1.15. Stephen Romano said, "We anticipate continued operating income growth in 2007 as recent and ongoing capital investments allow us to more efficiently manage increasing waste volumes. The approximately $50 million of internally generated cash invested in the last three years to expand our state-of-the-art treatment, disposal and rail transport services also provides an excellent platform to aggressively pursue new business."...Read More »



Honolulu: O'ahu's Only Municipal Landfill Nears Capacity

Even as O'ahu's only municipal landfill nears capacity, a recent poll indicates that nearly half of those surveyed oppose a plan to ship garbage out of state. Companies have offered for years to ship O'ahu garbage to huge landfills in rural Washington or Idaho...Read More »



DEP Issues Permits for Bethlehem Renewable Energy Project

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued air quality and waste management permits to Bethlehem Renewable Energy LLC for a 5.7-megawatt power plant that will run on landfill gas generated by an IESI landfill in Lower Saucon Township. Pennsylvania is already home to 24 operational gas-to-energy projects. DEP estimates that these projects generate 60 megawatts of electricity which is enough to power more than 38,000 homes for a year. Furthermore, they reduce emissions equivalent to taking 47,027 cars off the road...Read More »


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