Weekly News Bulletin: Nov. 20-26, 2007


Concern Over California's Approach to Landfill Post-Closure Costs

Environmentalists and waste industry officials differ on how California should revise its rules regarding the closure and post-closure maintenance of landfills. A recent study conducted for the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) has galvanized stakeholders. A key sticking point is over to what extent landfill operators must demonstrate financial assurance and what to do after 30 years beyond landfill closure, which is not addressed under current law. Environmentalists have taken issue with the financial means test and claim that current assurances only cover a fraction of post-closure maintenance. They would like to see the creation of an independent, perpetual care fund to cover these costs and paid for by a per-ton assessment on landfilled waste. Meanwhile, waste management companies, including Allied Waste Industries, Norcal Waste Systems, and Waste Management claim that the study has "has not been a deliberative process."...Read More »



CRRA Gets Gag Order in Mid-Connecticut Case

In the ongoing class-action suit against the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) by its member towns over a loan to former Enron Corp., a state Superior Court judge recently issued a gag order citing "misleading and inflammatory communications." The order is to remain in effect until funds are paid out, including attorneys fees. 70 towns that are members of CRRA's Mid-Connecticut Project sued the agency in February 2006 over CRRA's failed $220 million loan to Enron. On June 19, Judge Dennis G. Eveleigh ordered CRRA to pay those towns $35.8 million. Less than 10 days later, CRRA appealed the ruling. In addition to attorneys' fees, the agency is facing huge costs to close its Hartford landfill next year. The towns are essentially suing themselves as they will ultimately pay the costs through higher fees; however, fees will likely increase to other CRRA member towns across the state...Read More »



URS Acquires Washington Group International for $3.1 Billion

In even further consolidation of the consulting and engineering industry, URS Corporation has acquired Washington Group International, Inc. for about $3.1 billion. The deal closed after URS agreed to sweeten its offer by about 8.5% or $260 million. According to WGI CEO Steve Hanks, the merger creates the nation's biggest engineering, construction and environmental cleanup company with more than 55,000 employees worldwide. "We will have the largest human resource footprint in the industry," Hanks said. "This is a great opportunity to expand and grow this company. This comes at a time when demand for our services is at an all-time high."...Read More »



Veolia Buys French Metal Recycling Group Bartin

Veolia Environmental Services has acquired the third largest metal recycler in France Bartin Recycling Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Bartin generated revenues in 2006 €249 million ($369 million) and recycles 780,000 metric tons of metals per year. Denis Gasquet, Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Environmental Services, said: "This acquisition adds to and strengthens our capabilities and capacities in the recycling of metals at a time when these raw materials are of growing importance in tense international markets."...Read More »



Partnership Plans to Develop $1.5 Billion Recycled Energy Venture

Recycled Energy Development (RED) and private equity firm Denham Capital Management plan to develop a $1.5 billion portfolio of waste energy recycling projects. The group seeks to leverage an opportunity created by rising energy costs and concern over greenhouse gas emissions to develop and fund projects that generate clean energy. They cite US EPA and DOE estimates that more than two-thirds of greenhouse gases come from the production of power and heat. And, that recycling presently wasted energy could generate nearly 200,000 megawatts of clean power or 20% of US capacity. RED hopes to develop recycled energy projects that supply electricity and useful thermal energy to host manufacturing facilities. They will then share in the energy cost reductions along with profits from the sale of excess energy and emission credits...Read More »



Wal-Mart's Issues Self-Graded Environmental Report Card

Wal-Mart Stores released its promised "comprehensive report of its sustainability efforts" and the New York Times was quick to call it a "citizenship report" that uses the term sustainability very loosely. A letter from Wal-Mart's CEO H. Lee Scott declared that "There is no conflict between our business model of everyday low costs and everyday low prices and being a more sustainable business." For its part, Wal-Mart said that it had increased the energy efficiency of its buildings and its fleet of trucks by 15% since 2005, and had comitted to use solar energy at 22 sites and increase the use of more energy-efficient light-emitting diodes. Sadly for the industry, it has committed to reducing the amount of solid waste generated by its stores by 25% by next year...Read More »



Sales Manager Gets 15 Months Jail For Racketeering

In the ongoing federal probe of the western Connecticut waste industry, federal prosecutors announced the 15 month prison sentence given to Jeremy Everett, who as a sales manager at Allied Waste, and others, conspired to fraudulently increase waste collection rates in eastern New York in December 2004. As part of this scheme, several ostensible competitors met at a diner in New York to coordinate their efforts. So far, 33 individuals and 10 businesses have been charged in the racketeering "property rights" scheme...Read More »



Lawmakers Concerned About Application to Import Radioactive Waste

Two lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are concerned by an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from a Utah company that seeks to import radioactive waste from Italy. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., have asked for details about the application from EnergySolutions Inc. (ES) which already processes and disposes waste from US nuclear reactors. EnergySolutions Inc. became a public company on November 16...Read More »



SWANA Issues Policy Statement on Flow Control

In light of the US Supreme Court's ruling on flow control in the now famous United Haulers vs. Oneida Herkimer case, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has sought to clarify its position on the ruling for the benefit of its many municipal constituents. "SWANA recognizes flow control as an effective and legitimate instrument of integrated municipal solid waste management. . . [it] can be implemented without unduly interfering with the free movement of municipal solid waste and recyclables across jurisdictional boundaries."...Read More »



EIA Supports Natural Gas Vehicle Programs

The Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) is concerned that the US DOE is becoming distracted by high-risk vehicle activities to the detriment of the adoption of natural gas vehicles. In a letter to Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, EIA espouses DOE funded natural gas vehicle research and development programs. According to Bruce Parker, EIA's President and CEO, "Natural gas vehicles have a huge potential to displace the use of petroleum, especially in high-fuel use commercial urban fleet vehicles such as those used to collect recyclables and solid waste."...Read More »



Waste Industries USA to Increase its Dividend

Waste Industries USA, Inc. said that its Board of Directors approved a 25% increase in the company's quarterly dividend which will increase from $0.12 to $0.15 per share. Last month the company announced a $518.2 million offer by an investor group comprised of management, Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, and Goldman Sachs to take the company private...Read More »



American Ecology Appoints New Director to its Board

American Ecology Corp. has appointed Jeffrey S. Merrifield to its Board of Directors. Merrifield is currently Senior Vice President of the Shaw Group's Power Group and has a background that includes more than 20 years of diverse experience as a two term Presidential appointee to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission where he served from 1998 to 2007, a senior Congressional staff member and a practicing attorney in Washington, D.C...Read More »



Tetra Tech Wins $218 Million Contract Extension from Army

Tetra Tech, Inc. recently won a 5-year $218 million contract extension from the U.S. Army to close the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA) site and transition it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Tetra Tech has held the Program Management Contract for the $1.2 billion RMA remediation effort since 1997...Read More »


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