Weekly News Bulletin: Apr. 30-May 6, 2008


EPA Scientists Report Political Interference in Their Research

Hundreds of scientists working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claim to have experienced political interference with their work, often with pressure to exclude information or to make modifications of reports, according to a recent survey by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Out of a total of 1,586 EPA staff scientists responding to an online questionnaire, 889 said that they faced some type of political interference over the past five years. The EPA scientists reported poor morale at the agency and often pointed to senior EPA managers and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the leading culprits in the political manipulation of their work. An EPA spokesman described the apparent discontent among agency scientists as a by-product of their passion for their work, but UCS's Francesca Grifo said that the survey results show "an agency in crisis" and "under siege from political pressures." Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said in a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson that the UCS survey results were disturbing, and that he plans to investigate its allegations in an upcoming hearing of his Oversight and Government Reform Committee...Read More »



Waste Management 1Q Profit up Slightly on Higher Pricing

Waste Management Inc.'s first-quarter income edged up just over 1% as an ongoing strategy to replace low profit margin business offset decreased volumes and higher fuel costs. The company earned $241 million, or $0.48 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with $238 million, or $0.45 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 2.5% to $3.27 billion. "We overcame several challenges during the first quarter of 2008, including the impact of sharply rising diesel fuel prices, a slow economy and harsh winter weather in the Midwest," CEO David P. Steiner said...Read More »



WM to Build Largest Landfill Gas-to-Liquefied Natural Gas Facility

Waste Management Inc. announced plans to develop the world's largest landfill gas-to-liquefied natural gas facility which will ultimately fuel company trucks in California. The project will help the company develop a source of low-carbon fuel, which is expected to be in wide demand when states such as California begin requiring drivers to cut their carbon dioxide emissions. "This project has the potential to allow us to tap into a valuable source of clean energy while greatly reducing our dependence on fossil fuels," said Duane Woods, senior vice president at Waste Management. Waste Management will invest about $15.5 million in the plant which is expected to begin operations next year and will produce up to 13,000 gallons of LNG per day...Read More »



Allied Waste Reports Record First Quarter

Allied Waste Industries reported a $72.6 million profit on $1.48 billion in revenue for the first quarter. Earnings per share were 17 cents for the first quarter, up from 8 cents for the first quarter of 2007. Higher revenue for the period was driven by a 6.1% increase in price, partially offset by a 4.1% decrease in volumes. "Allied Waste's strong operating and financial results continued to benefit from long-term initiatives in support of strategic pricing, operating efficiency and overall service enhancements," said John Zillmer, Chairman and CEO...Read More »



Sen. Durbin Introduces Clean Cruise Ship Act

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced legislation aimed at regulating pollution from cruise ships operating within 12 miles of US coasts. The Clean Cruise Ship Act raises current pollution control standards and other safeguards to address the massive increase in scale of today's ships. "In one week, a large cruise ship generates 500,000 gallons of sewage, 37,000 gallons of oily bilge water and more than 1.7 million gallons of 'gray water' ... There are more than 230 cruise ships operating around the world, generating millions of gallons of wastewater daily." Durbin said an average size cruise ship being built today can accommodate 3,000 passengers, yet regulations governing the cruise ship industry were primarily written in the 1970's when cruise ships of this size did not exist...Read More »



Caskata and Alter NRG Develop Unique Ethanol from Waste Facility

Caskata Inc. is investing $25 million to develop a demonstration facility that will produce 40,000 gallons of ethanol per year from biomass and other waste products. It will be co-located with Alter NRG's plasma gasification facility in Madison, PA. Alter NRG's plasma arc will superheat raw materials resulting in the release of synthetic gas, or "syngas" that will in turn be fed into a bioreactor with microorganisms to convert waste products into ethanol. Coskata's process will produce 100 gallons of ethanol from a ton of feedstock, compared with 67 gallons produced from the same amount of corn. The fuel will cost less than $1 a gallon to produce. The plant is expected to be fully operational within a year and should pave the way for construction of full-scale plants that can produce anywhere from 40 million to 400 million gallons of ethanol annually. GM is an investor in Caskata and will use the ethanol to test a line of cars being developed to run on that fuel...Read More »



Goodwill Urging Congress to Fix E-Waste

Goodwill Industries testified before the House Science and Technology Committee urging Congress to assist in the development of a recycling and reuse infrastructure for unwanted electronics. With an increasing amount of e-waste donations to local Goodwill agencies throughout the country, company officials say they are feeling the financial strain associated with the collection and environmentally safe disposal of e-waste donations. According to the company, a survey of Goodwill agencies found that 23 million pounds of e-waste, the equivalent of roughly 821,000 computers, were donated to Goodwill alone in 2004. According to Jim Gibbons, president & CEO, "As much as 30 percent of electronics donated to Goodwill are unusable, and disposing of these products in an environmentally responsible way diverts significant resources from Goodwill's job training programs."...Read More »



Waste to Energy Firm Ze-gen Adds Key Manager

Ze-gen, Inc., which converts waste into clean burning gas for energy, has added to its management ranks with the hiring of George McMillan as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. McMillan, who joined the company as a Director in November 2004, was previously President and CEO of The Palladium Group, a technology and strategy consulting firm he helped found. Prior to that, he headed and repositioned CMGI, a financially distressed internet company into a billion dollar leader in supply-chain management. He comes highly decorated with degrees from Harvard and Stanford...Read More »



Smurfit-Stone to Help Waste Services Boost Central FL Recovery

Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. is helping Waste Services Inc. to increase the recovery of recyclables at their Taft MRF and transfer station near Orlando, Fla., from 800 to about 3,200 tons per month. "By continuing to find ways to extract additional fiber and other materials from the waste stream, our recycling operations are becoming more valuable to customers who require sustainable packaging and waste management solutions," said Mike Oswald, senior vice president and general manager of Smurfit-Stone´s recycling division...Read More »



Clean Harbors Raises $173.5M in Stock Offering

Clean Harbors Inc. raised about $173.5 million in a stock offering at $63.75 per share. The Norwell, Mass.-based environmental and hazardous waste services company offered 2.5 million shares to the public along with another 375,000 shares to underwriters. Proceeds from the transaction will fuel future acquisitions, debt repayments and working capital...Read More »



WCA Waste First Quarter Earnings Off Despite Higher Revenues

Houston-based WCA Waste Corp. posted a net loss of $2.4 million, or $0.20 per share, despite a 20% increase in revenue to $48.8 million, for the quarter ended March 31, 2008. That compared with net income of $1.3 million, or $0.02 per share, on revenue of $40.6 million, in the same period a year earlier. Analysts had expected the company to earn $0.03 per share. Earnings were hurt by increased fuel, maintenance, and integration costs primarily with Florida operations...Read More »



EIA to Induct Mickey Flood into Hall of Fame

On May 6th the Environmental Industry Associations will honor Mickey Flood, President and CEO of IESI with a lifetime achievement award and membership in the Association's Hall of Fame. Flood began his career in the waste industry at 15. In 1976 he joined publicly-owned SCA Services which was later acquired by Waste Management in 1984. Flood became President of GSX Corporation North America which was acquired in 1986 by Laidlaw Waste Systems where he became President of Laidlaw's U.S. operations. In 1989, Flood joined WMI as a Region Vice President and in 1992 he became one of the company's four group presidents in charge of its solid waste business in North America. In 1995 when Waste merged with USA Waste, Flood founded IESI. For Flood, "My greatest accomplishment was putting the right people together to build IESI. We had two trucks when we started and grew organically and through acquisition to become one of the largest companies in our industry."...Read More »



American Ecology Reports Record First Quarter Revenue and Income

American Ecology Corp. said first quarter net income rose 19% to $5.9 million, or $0.32 per share, from $4.9 million, or $0.27 per share, in the same quarter last year. The company beat Wall Street estimates of $0.28 per share. Operating income for the first quarter grew 20% to $9.5 million, from $7.9 million in the same quarter previous year. Similarly, quarterly revenues increased 19% to $46.2 million, from $39.0 million in the year-ago quarter, also beating analysts' expectations of $44.42 million. The company now expects fiscal 2008 earnings of between $1.17 and $1.23 per share...Read More »



BFI Canada to Report First Quarter on May 13 and Host Conference Call

BFI Canada Income Fund will host a conference call to discuss first quarter financial results to be issued on Tuesday, May 13. The conference call will be held the following day at 8:30 a.m. (EDT)...Read More »


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