Weekly News Bulletin: May 30-Jun. 5, 2007


EIA Proposes Framework for Regulating E-Waste

In response to growing outcry from environmentalist groups and the increasing disparity of state legislative reaction to the problem of e-waste, the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) is releasing its own framework for federal legislation to establish a national program for recycling old TVs, computers and such. It is a front burner issue especially as states such as Minnesota and Oregon have recently passed laws that increasingly put the burden on manufacturers. EIA's approach calls for a separate approach for TVs and computers that reflect their divergent business models, markets and consumer base. TVs would be collected and recycled by an industry-sponsored third party paid for by a fee charged to consumers at the point of purchase. Producers of IT equipment would implement a system convenient to consumers and without any fees. They would further agree to the materials restrictions established by the European Union's Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive and a similar California statute. The unified approach seeks to alleviate the complexities for manufacturers selling products across many states and abroad...Read More »



Oregon Senate Unanimously Passes E-Waste Bill

The Oregon state Senate unanimously approved an e-waste bill that essentially requires manufacturers to help fund recycling sites and collection centers for used computers, monitors and televisions. It also prohibits landfill operators from knowingly accepting such items. Senators approved the bill after backers cited statistics from the Oregon DEQ, stating that Oregonians disposed of 32,500 tons of e-waste in 2005, mostly in landfills. Minnesota passed a similar earlier this month. The measure is HB2626...Read More »



Judge Appears Skeptical of Case against Norcal and Gonzales

In the ongoing bribery case against former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales and Norcal Waste Systems, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge John Herlihy appeared to be skeptical of the prosecutor's arguments. At issue is an Oct. 6, 2000 meeting whereby Mayor Gonzales allegedly agreed to pay Norcal $11.25 million to compensate them for switching to Teamsters Union workers. The defense argues that regardless of the events, Norcal would have been legally required to use Teamsters workers anyway. But, Deputy District Attorney Julius Finkelstein has cited a 1959 US Supreme Court case and two New York state apellate court rulings from 1903 and 1913 which held that bribery can exist even if the target does not receive money. But last week, Judge Herlihy rejected those arguments as failing to help in understanding the California definition of bribery. Last week's hearing was to decide on whether to have the grand jury indictment thrown out. It is not known when the Judge will issue a ruling...Read More »



Covanta Buys Two California Biomass Facilities for $51 MIllion

Waste-to-energy company Covanta Energy recently purchased two biomass energy facilities for $51 million. Both are located in California's Central Valley and will add 75 megawatts to Covanta's existing renewable energy portfolio of four other biomass facilities and 31 waste-to-energy plants. Covanta expects to invest another $15-20 million for productivity and environmental improvements...Read More »



U.S., China Move Forward on Environment, Energy Issues

More than 30 ministerial officials from the United States and China reached consensus on a range of energy and environmental issues during the May 22-23 Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), the second such meeting held to address shared priorities and concerns. U.S. officials said the countries agreed to collaborate on methane capture from coal mines and other clean-coal technologies, address illegal logging and fishing, and reduce or eliminate trade barriers. "Pollution knows no geographic or political borders. But by working together at the SED, we are moving America and China toward a cleaner, healthier, more productive future," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson...Read More »



SPSA Proposes $99 Million Budget for 2008

The Southeastern Public Service Authority emerged from months of internal debate over how to cut costs with a budget that instead calls for an 11% increase in spending to $99 million next year. The plan does call for eliminating numerous jobs and other expenses but also seeks to decrease reliance on debt to finance its environmental programs. Instead, the money will come from an anticipated revenue increase of $12 million from higher tipping fees. The authority announced last month that beginning July 1, it would begin charging $100 per ton for waste to its six city and county members, up from $75 currently and $57 last year. Additional funds could also come from selling the authority's waste-to-energy plant in Portsmouth...Read More »



Republic Tussles with Union in Las Vegas

Union workers for Republic Services in the Las Vegas area (formerly Silver State Disposal) have rejected a new contract setting the stage for a showdown on June 9th when the current contract expires. The union which is 1,200 members strong has taken issue with Republic's attempt to curb absenteeism. Despite offering a 37% increase in wages and benefits, the new contract would reduce so-called allowable "no-call, no-show" days from 10 to 3 days per year. "It is not unusual for an initial contract proposal to go through more than one round of negotiations," according to Republic Services President Bob Coyle. "We believe that the two sides are probably not that far apart from reaching an agreement that the rank and file will support," Coyle said in a company statement...Read More »



Waste Management Has Headaches Closing Pottstown PA Landfill

Waste Management agreed to pay $700,000 in fines for violating state emissions standards at its Pottstown, PA landfill in 2004. The landfill stopped accepting waste in October 2005 but still generates gas and is closely monitored by the Pennsylvania DEP. The company submitted plans to close the landfill in October last year. But the company and the Pottstown borough soon became engaged in a legal dispute over the agreement whereby the Pottstown borough took the landfill's leachate in exchange for free recycling and reduced tipping fees on waste disposal. Resolution of the debate is at the heart of the landfiill's closure plan. Part of the problem is that no one can agree on the flow rates...Read More »



Survey Finds Organizations Are Missing Opportunity to Divert Waste from Landfills

A new survey report finds that many organizations are somewhat indifferent to alternative waste disposal methods and more concerned about energy conservation and recycling in the general sense. That conclusion was reached by the Global Renewable Energy and Environmental Network (GREEN) in its report "Garbage Is a Terrible Thing to Waste." 51% believed that they spent "a lot" on waste management, but 73% of this group believed this to be expected. Only 26% of the respondents indicated an active search for new or innovative solutions. Respondents' two greatest concerns about landfills are groundwater contamination (53%) and the fact that many landfills are reaching capacity (27%). Composting was one of the least concerns, but most felt it was "environmentally responsible" (57%)...Read More »



Startech Sells Three Plasma Converters in Puerto Rico to EnviroSafe

Startech Environmental signed a deal to sell three of its plasma converters in Puerto Rico to EnviroSafe Industrial Services Corp. of San Juan. The three systems will be housed in EnviroSafe's new recycling facility, will have a combined capacity of 25 tons per day, and are to commence operation in 2008...Read More »



Allied Waste Upsizes Credit Facility to Pay off Higher-Interest Loans

Allied Waste Industries recently increased its securitized accounts receivable facility to $300 million and then used $70 million in proceeds to pay down a portion of its higher interest rate term loan...Read More »


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