Weekly News Bulletin: May 21-27, 2008


Farm Bill's Energy Title Gives Hope to Biofuels Supporters

Both houses of Congress passed the $300 billion Farm Bill that allots only $1.4-billion billion towards energy, but entrepreneurs are touting it as important seed funding for next-generation biofuels that don't use food as feedstock. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 provides $1 billion in direct funding of energy programs and draws $400 million from energy tax credits and also provides an additional $1.1 billion in discretionary spending. Among the provisions of the energy title are loan guarantees for biorefineries, a tax credit for cellulosic biofuel, a program to subsidize the cultivation of new biofuel feedstocks, and others...Read More »



Supreme Court Upholds States' Right to Exempt Their Own Bonds

The US Supreme Court ruled 7-to-2 that states can continue taxing interest on out-of-state municipal bonds while exempting interest on their own bonds without violating the Constitution. The decision is important for the waste industry particularly with regard to the public financing of waste processing facilities. In ruling on "Dept. of Revenue of Kentucky v. Davis," the high court overturned an appellate court ruling which found differential tax practices to discriminate against interstate commerce. Instead, the court said it promotes the financing of essential governmental services. However, it left the door open to possible future challenges revolving around private-activity or conduit bonds issued by governmental entities on behalf of private borrowers...Read More »



Silicon Valley Wants Congress to Extend Clean Energy Credits

Clean energy and tech executives are leaning on Congress to end deadlock and approve a series of tax credits essential to the solar and wind industries that are also a growing segment of the Silicon Valley economy. In a letter to congressional leaders, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, TechNet, the National Venture Capital Association and trade groups for wind and solar warned that the loss of tax credits would jeopardize $19 billion in clean-tech investment and 116,000 jobs nationwide. The House and Senate have disagreed over how to pay for a package of extended tax credits, including an $8.8 billion-a-year research and development tax credit that expired at the end of 2007. A House measure to shift tax breaks from oil and gas to renewables failed in the Senate after fierce opposition from oil companies. Recently, the House Ways and Means Committee put together a new plan, paid for with relatively non-controversial methods, including curtailing a deferred compensation technique used by hedge funds. Their plan would extend the investment tax credit for solar energy for six years, and the production energy tax credit for wind for one year. The tax credit for using energy derived from biomass, geothermal, hydropower, landfill gas and solid waste would be extended three years. Uncertainty over the credits is said to be delaying large-scale projects...Read More »



New York City Council Overrides Mayor's Veto on E-Waste Bill

The New York City Council overrode Mayor Michael Bloomberg´s veto of a bill that imposes performance standards on manufacturers for the recovery of electronic waste. Introductory Number 729 requires electronics manufacturers to take back a minimum of 25% of what they sell by July 1, 2012. That percentage rises to 65% in 2018. It is the second part of a measure that was orginally split into two parts so that the Mayor could sign into law those elements of the law to which he agreed. The Mayor disagreed with the second measure because in his view, it disproportionately burdens manufactures instead of wholesalers whom actually sell directly to the public. The Council passed the bill on March 26 only to have the Mayor veto it on April 26. The Council overrode the veto on May 14. However, the Mayor is not expected to implement the standards...Read More »



EPA Releases 2008 Report on the Environment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has just released its 2008 Report on the Environment which is meant to help citizens to better understand trends in the condition of the air, water, and land and related changes in human health and the environment in the United States. It is also intended to provide a reliable set of information that can be used for year-to-year comparisons as well as planning...Read More »



EnergySolutions Presses Case to Import Italian Nuclear Waste

Eager to press ahead with plans to import foreign nuclear wastes into Utah, Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions Inc. said it would limit the amount of waste and that it would not impact domestic capacity. EnergySolutions has an application pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to import 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy. It is the largest import license request for nuclear waste the NRC has ever received. The proposal has led to widespread opposition in Utah and other states the waste would travel through. It has also sparked a bill in Congress that would ban the importation of all low-level radioactive foreign waste unless it originated here or came from an American military facility. Sponsors are concerned that imports would diminish much needed domestic capacity. Company CEO Steve Creamer attempted to allay those fears in testifying before a House subcommittee on the bill. He said the intent in importing the waste is to "have an American company build a strong position internationally."...Read More »



Spanish Energy Giant Iberdrola to Invest $8 Bil. on US Renewable Projects

Spanish renewable energy giant Iberdrola plans to invest $8 billion in the United States between 2008 and 2010. The world's largest renewable energy operator aims to have a 15% share of the wind power market in the US by 2010. It had a wind power production capacity of 2,400 megawatts in the US at the end of March and it expects to reach 3,600 megawatts by the end of the year. Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Sanchez Galan has said he considers the US as the company's most exciting growth market...Read More »



Perma-Fix Sells Tulsa Waste Facility for $1.5 Million

Perma-Fix Environmental Services finally sold its Tulsa, Okla., industrial waste management facility to Wilson, Okla.-based A Clean Environment Co. Inc. (ACE) for $1.5 million. A deal to sell the facility last September fell through. This deal is expected to close during the second quarter. According to Perma-Fix CEO Louis F. Centofanti, "this will mark the third industrial facility within our Industrial Segment that we have sold this year. We are aggressively working to sell the remaining industrial facilities as we concentrate our efforts on the growth opportunities within our Nuclear Segment."...Read More »


Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin