Weekly News Bulletin: Jan. 2-8, 2008


California to Sue EPA Over Greenhouse Gas Regulations

California has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for denying the state's request to impose its own limits to greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and trucks. At least 16 other states had been expected to follow California's lead and are now expected to join the lawsuit, which was filed in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson denied California a waiver on the basis of the new federal energy bill that raises fuel economy standards to an average of 35 mpg by 2020, which he said was a far more effective approach to reducing greenhouse gases than a patchwork of state regulations. California's law would have required the auto industry to cut emissions by one-third in new vehicles by 2016 or reach an average of 36.8 mpg...Read More »



S&P Sees Stable Future for Waste Industry

Standard & Poor's sees continued strength in the waste management sector despite recent problems in the credit markets and the economy. Strong cash flows and the somewhat recession resistant nature of the business makes for a refuge in the storm. The largest haulers are expected to continue to sacrifice market share in favor of higher pricing and strategic asset utilization towards more profitable business and markets. Rising prices will outpace declining construction and demolition volumes from the soft housing market. Waste Management's recent capital allocation plan for 2008 evidences the industry trend to control costs by investing in vehicle maintenance and fleet upgrades while also emphasizing worker safety programs. Within this strategy, the companies will continue to invest excess cash in debt reduction, share buybacks, dividends, "tuck-in" acquisitions and asset swaps. Strategic market positioning will aid efforts to improve efficiencies through higher route densities and internalization of more waste collected into company owned landfills...Read More »



Investor Sues Waste Industries USA Over Buyout

A recent filing by Waste Industries USA Inc. indicates that a disgruntled shareholder recently filed a complaint against the company and five directors over its proposed buyout. The complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that the directors breached their fiduciary duty in approving the transaction. The plaintiff seeks class status, the enjoinment of the transaction and reimbursement of legal costs, among other things. Waste Industries said that it believes the allegations to be without merit and denies any wrongdoing. On December 18 the company agreed to be taken private by an investor group that includes the company's chairman, its chief executive, as well as Macquarie Infrastructure Partners and Goldman Sachs, in a transaction valued at about $544 million...Read More »



Judge Says San Francisco Supervisors Overstepped in Giving Contract to Norcal

A San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that the city's Board of Supervisors overstepped its authority when it rejected a multiyear sludge disposal contract with S&S Trucking and instead awarded it to hometown favorite Norcal Waste Systems. Norcal has held a virtual monopoly on the city's residential and commercial waste business which is valued to be nearly $200 million per year, since the 1930s. Norcal has also held the contract to haul the city's treated sewage, which had not been put out for competitive bid until this fall. Of the five firms that applied for the business, Norcal came in the highest, or about $3 million more over the 5-year term than the low bidder S&S. The ruling was limited to the narrow question of whether the board violated the city charter which only allows review of contracts over $10 million or that will last 10 years or more. The Contract Administration office argues that variables in the contract could have pushed the cost over that threshold...Read More »



New Hampshire to Ban the Burning of C&D and Treated Wood

The state of New Hampshire, beginning this year, will permanently ban the burning of toxic construction and demolition waste or treated wood wastes. Communities can continue to burn untreated wood at their transfer stations until 2011. In 2006, Gov. John Lynch signed a law extending a moratorium on burning the debris, which had been set to expire Dec. 31. He cited health risks and growing imports from other states as cause for concern. In neighboring Vermont it is also illegal to burn the debris or commercial refuse, except natural wood. And, in Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed a law in 2006 imposing new restrictions on burning the debris, which is imported into Maine and used as a biomass fuel...Read More »



American Ecology Declares $0.15 per Share Quarterly Dividend

Special and hazardous waste company American Ecology Corp. declared a $0.15 per share quarterly cash dividend. As of September 30, 2007, the company had 18.3 million shares outstanding and $11.3 million in cash on hand, out of which $2.7 million will be paid out as the dividend...Read More »



AERT Notified of Possible NASDAQ Delisting

Recycled composite building material manufacturer AERT, Inc. received a Nasdaq Staff Deficiency Letter on December 21 indicating that the company fails to comply with the minimum bid price requirement for continued Nasdaq stock market listing set forth in Nasdaq's Marketplace Rule 4310(c)(4), because the Company's common stock closed below the $1.00 minimum bid price for 30 consecutive business days. In accordance with the marketplace rules, the company will have 180 days, until June 18, 2008 to regain compliance, which may be accomplished if the bid price of the stock equals or exceeds $1.00 per share for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days before that time...Read More »


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