Weekly News Bulletin: May 7-13, 2008


EPA Resists Pressure for Extra Waste-to-Ethanol RFS Credits

The renewable fuels and solid waste industry are said to be concerned with EPA reluctance to offer additional credits for developing waste-to-ethanol and other sources that exceed the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals of the recent energy law's renewable fuel standard (RFS). The industry may ask Congress to intervene by passing legislation granting more credits to developers of very low carbon fuels. President Bush in December signed the energy law requiring the production of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022, with 21 billion gallons to come from advanced biofuel or other than corn-based, such as fuel from garbage. An EPA abstract acknowledges that MSW is a plentiful feedstock and the fuel made from this source could realize significant GHG reductions in comparison to other biofuels. It states that 77% of the 251 million tons generated annually could be used to make biofuel, an energy equivalent to 10.7 billion gallons of gasoline. Other benefits are numerous: MSW is generated near population centers, so it would not need to be transported very far, its use as a fuel source would not require land-use changes as does corn, and keeping it out of landfills avoids methane released during decomposition. Although there are currently no commercial scale facilities that turn garbage into biofuel, numerous companies are moving ahead with plans for facility construction...Read More »



EPA Region 5 Chief Resigns after Dispute

The head of the US EPA's Midwest Office (Region 5) has resigned over a dispute with agency leadership involving enforcement actions against Dow Chemical Co. Mary Gade, whose departure is the latest in a string of public conflicts within the agency, is a former corporate attorney and Bush campaign adviser, who said that she had been forced to resign. The conflict appears to stem from failed negotiations between her office and Dow Chemical over cleanup actions related to dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River system. John Musser, a Dow Chemical spokesman, said that Ms. Gade's office asked Dow "to do things that were not consistent with national guidelines or national policy." Dow took its case to Washington where it argued unfair treatment by the local office. EPA director Stephen Johnson has been under fire by congressional democrats for overruling staff in disputes such as denying California permission to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from automobiles, or even to formally declare greenhouse-gas emissions a threat to public welfare, a legal prerequisite to their regulation...Read More »



Plan to Forge E-Waste Bill Stalls With Resignation of Key Proponent

A bipartisan plan to forge a national policy for electronic waste that would require EPA to ban land-disposal of the waste has stalled after its chief proponent, Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD), resigned his chairmanship of a key House environmental subcommittee last month. The plan as detailed in a concept paper had already drawn criticism from EPA, states, industry and environmental groups. It now appears that it will take a year or more for an e-waste bill to pass Congress. A number of states have enacted their own programs for dealing with e-waste. The e-waste plan was meant to meld the disjointed patchwork of state measures into a consistent federal program. The concept paper calls for amending the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act to include a subtitle to cover e-waste, advocates banning land disposal of e-waste, seeks EPA oversight for minimum standards for state programs and requires greater notification and consent for the export of e-waste to foreign ports...Read More »



Chicago Dumps Controversial Blue Bag Program

The City of Chicago will end its controversial blue bag recycling program in favor of blue cart system similar to that which has been deployed in many other cities. The city had already been abandoning the program, implemented in 1995, which failed to gain traction and was marred in controversy. The city will distribute carts to another 92,000 households this year, bringing service to nearly a third of the 600,000 homes in the city and add 140,000 more homes per year from 2009 through 2011. Under the blue bag program, residents had been asked to place recyclables in plastic bags that were comingled with regular trash and then sorted later at recycling facilities. The city claimed a 25% diversion rate although studies showed that few residents actually used the blue bags resulting in an actual diversion rate closer to 8%. The city had also begun allowing much of Chicago's residential waste to bypass the expensive sorting centers built expressly for the blue bag program. Especially, since politically connected private haulers never embraced the program either...Read More »



Wastequip May Close Some Operations as it Streamlines

Waste handling equipment manufacturer Wastequip has deployed a restructuring initiative that will involve the closure of some production facilities. Under the guise of creating a "greener" company, the intention is to improve efficiencies through streamline operations and improved customer support. The company has made dozens of acquisitions in recent years and then was itself acquired by a private equity fund in late 2006. The company now operates 35 manufacturing plants but has not disclosed how many of those will be closed. Management said that it expects to have a better idea in the next 45 to 60 days as the plan takes shape...Read More »



CRRA Ash Landfill Plan in Trouble

The Connecticut state senate has unanimously passed a bill that barrs the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) from building a despareatly needed ash landfill near the town of Franklin. If passed by the House, it will throw years of plans by the agency to replace its Hartford landfill, already slated for closure this year, with much needed space for ash residue from the state's burn plants. Paul Nonnenmacher, a spokesman for the CRRA, said that "If this bill passes, the legislature is turning over a significant part of solid waste system to out-of-state companies, over which Connecticut has no control." Even without interfereence from the legislature, the 350-acre Franklin site would not be ready until 2011 at the earliest. If built, it would accomodate about 300 thousand tons of ash per year brought there on 60 trucks per day...Read More »



Safety-Kleen Files Registration for IPO

Safety-Kleen Hold Co., Inc., which was formed to serve as the ultimate holding company of the industrial waste, solvent recycling, and parts cleaning firm Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., announced that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering (IPO) of common stock. The offering, for which Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan will serve as the underwriters, is expected to raise up to $300 million, although the filing did not specify the number of shares to be offered or the expected share price. The company's stock will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "SK."...Read More »



Clean Harbors First Quarter Profit Rises on Higher Revenues

Norwell, Mass.-based waste management services provider Clean Harbors Inc. said its first-quarter profit more than doubled, helped by higher revenue from both its technical and site services unit. Quarterly profit rose to $8.9 million, or $0.43 per share, from $3.4 million, or $0.17 per share, in the same period last year. Revenue rose 18 percent to $242.5 million from $205 million last year. For the second quarter, the company expects revenue of $260 million to $263 million...Read More »



Growth in Revenues and Profits for Veolia Environment's First Quarter

Veolia Environnement said first-quarter revenues rose 16.6% to 9.086 billion Euros from a year-earlier 7.795 billion, but that its gross operating profit grew more slowly due to lower margins for recent acquisitions and certain contracts. On an organic basis, revenues rose 11%. Acquisitions contributed 7.9% to growth, while exchange rates had a negative impact of 2.3% or 182 million Euros. Operating profit reached 701.2 million Euros, up 7.1% on 654.8 million. Without the exchange rate impact, profit would have been up by 9%. Environmental Services recorded revenues of 2.416 billion Euros, up 18.8% or 7.7% in organic terms...Read More »



Greenstar North America to Invest $300 Million in Single-Stream

Greenstar North America and its Irish parent, NTR plc, plan to invest $300 million in solar, wind and single-stream recycling capabilities in 2008. The new investment will give Houston-based Greenstar, a processor of recyclables, a recycling capacity of more than 1 million tons a year by the end of 2008. Currently, its single-stream processing capacity is 500,000 tons a year. In Texas, the company currently provides single-stream services in Dallas and San Antonio. The company plans to add new facilities, upgrade equipment and introduce both residential and commercial single-stream processing to its facilities...Read More »



DOE Awards $4 Million to TVA to Design Nuclear Reprocessing Plant

The Department of Energy has awarded $4 million to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to develop a conceptual design for a nuclear waste reprocessing plant that might ultimately become a demonstration facility. The intent is to demonstrate new technology to recycle useful material contained in nuclear waste sitting in storage at nuclear power plants across the country. TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore acknowledged that it would be a long term project that will eventually cost billions of dollars to fully develop...Read More »



EnergySolutions Sues for Right to Import Foreign Waste into Utah

EnergySolutions Inc., which has had plans to import nuclear waste from Italy, has filed a federal lawsuit to prevent state government interference with the plan. The company asserts the eight-state "Northwest Compact" that oversees waste disposal in the region lacks authority over a privately owned entity. Its license to import 20,000 tons of waste is pending before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The plan would be to import the waste through Charleston, S.C., or New Orleans and process it in Tennessee. After processing, about 1,600 tons of waste would be disposed at its facility in Tooele County, about 70 miles west of Salt Lake City. The Tooele county facility currently accommodates 98% of the low-level waste generated nationwide...Read More »



Fortistar Buys Two More Landfill Gas to Energy Projects

Fortistar, which has been amassing a portfolio of renewable green energy projects, recently acquired two more landfill gas to energy projects in Fort Worth, Texas and Boise, Idaho from G2 Energy, a private developer. The projects collectively generate 4.8 megawatts. With 59 such projects, Fortistar now generates the equivalent of over 370 MWs including this latest acquisition. It also makes Fortistar one of the largest owners of landfill gas projects in the country with about 12% of the total number. Fortistar is also working with G2 Energy on three more landfill gas projects in California, Texas, and Florida that will generate 8 MW collectively...Read More »



Terrabon Begins Work on Low-Cost Biomass Conversion Plant

Terrabon, L.L.C. announced that it has broken ground on a biofuels conversion facility in Bryan, Texas, that will test the scaled-up, commercial feasibility of its MixAlco(TM) technology, which converts readily-available, low-cost, non-food biomass into chemicals that can be processed into ethanol and renewable gasoline fuels. The MixAlco technology uses non-food feedstocks such as municipal solid waste, sewage sludge, forest product residues and non-edible energy crops to create acetic acid and alcohols that may be converted into fuel. The demonstration plant will confirm the engineering for the technology on a larger scale...Read More »



CleanTech Biofuels Says First Phase of MSW to Ethanol Project is Operational

CleanTech Biofuels said that the first phase of its MSW waste-to-ethanol plant is now operational and that testing of cellulosic feedstocks has begun...Read More »



Industrial Services First Quarter Revenue and Profit Up

Louisville, KY-based Industrial Services of America, a recycling and waste-management company, said that first-quarter revenue increased 46% to $26.1 million from $17.9 million the year before. Net income rose 37% to $1 million, or $0.30 per share, up from $793,080, or $0.22 per share in the first quarter of 2007. According to ISA's chairman and chief executive, Harry Kletter, "With this first quarter we have achieved a revenue run-rate of approximately $100 million, as we progress through 2008, we will continue to focus on the fundamentals of profitably growing our business by investing in our processes and by serving our customers well."...Read More »


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