Weekly News Bulletin: May 29-Jun. 4, 2008


Congress Will Move on E-Waste With or Without Stakeholder Agreement

Congress is likely to craft its own version of a national e-waste plan even if industry stakeholders fail to find consensus. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Cal., founder of the Congressional E-Waste Working Group, told Green Electronics Daily that he is "hopeful that the industries involved will see our legislation as a critical step forward." So far, his group has created a concept paper that describes a producer responsibility model as a means of financing the collection and recycling of discarded electronics and more importantly creates a set of guidelines that would be consistent in all states. The working group wants to get a bill "finalized as quickly as possible," Thompson said: "I do not anticipate any trouble finding Republican support in the Senate."...Read More »



URS Team Wins $7.1 Billion Hanford Cleanup Project

A URS Corp.-led team won a Department of Energy contract to remediate radioactive and hazardous underground waste tanks on the DOE's Hanford Site in Washington state. The five-year contract is valued at $7.1 billion and includes an additional five-year option. Nearly 53 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous waste is stored in 177 underground tanks grouped in 18 farms at the 560-square-mile Hanford Site. The team is comprised of Washington River Protection Solutions LLC, a new company formed by the Washington division of URS and EnergySolutions, with subcontractor Areva...Read More »



Detroit Considers Fate of its Waste-to-Energy Plant

With its contract set to expire, the city of Detroit must decide whether to continue using a waste-to-energy plant or switch to some combination of increased recycling or use of landfill disposal. The project is owned by the quasi-governmental Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority (GDRRA) and operated by Michigan Waste Energy, a division of Covanta Energy. It handles about two-thirds of the 550,000 tons of waste generated each year. Critics that include environmentalists and some citizen groups argue that the plant is expensive and hinders recycling efforts. Proponents argue that ever higher transportation costs make the plant more compelling than landfills. They also argue that further gains in recycling are hampered not by use of the plant, but by the increased expense of spreading service to more remote areas...Read More »



Rockland County NY to Adopt Flow Control

Rockland County, NY plans to adopt "flow control" which will dictate that all waste collected within the county, including its five towns, be taken only to facilities managed by the county's Solid Waste Authority. The authority contends that flow control will boost the environment and the savings to municipalities through increased recycling and diversion from landfills. The decision to allow the Authority to pursue "flow control" was made possible by last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling, United Haulers Association, Inc. v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, which upheld the right of local governments to direct refuse to publicly owned waste facilities. The county decision comes as no surprise since it had already publicly supported Oneida-Herkimer's lawsuit. Critics fear that disposal costs will soar and doubt the county's ability to manage the system efficiently...Read More »



Company Gets $65 Million Financing for California Manure-to-Gas Projects

Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Environmental Power Corp. announced receiving $65.35 million in financing for two renewable natural gas projects in California. The projects will treat waste from dairy farms in Fresno and Kings Counties to generate renewable gas. "We are eager to get the bonds placed and to commence construction so that we can start delivering renewable energy to our California customers and creating important environmental benefits for the citizens of the state," said Rich Kessel, president and CEO of Environmental Power...Read More »



PA. Landfills Lose Attempt to Recover Millions in Fees

A Pennsylvania Appeals Court rejected the idea that several landfill operators be entitled to recover $4.6 million in disputed fees. In 2005, the same Commonwealth Court agreed with the private landfill operators who objected to having to pay a $4-a-ton fee to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on foundry sand and other inert materials used as "alternative daily cover." But the landfills continued to argue with the DEP over how much of the fees already paid should be refunded. In its latest decision, the court upheld the state's argument that refunds were required only for those landfills which sought them within six months of an overpayment...Read More »



Alternative Energy Investments Gain Luster From High Oil

A recent report by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) attributes record investment in alternative energy to record high oil prices. The exposure of pension funds and other institutional investors to alternative energy projects is small but growing with investments in geothermal to hydro, wind, solar, biomass, tidal energy and landfill gas. 'CleanTech' investments by U.S. venture firms hit a record $2.6 billion from 168 deals in the first nine months of 2007, exceeding the $1.8 billion from 180 deals in all of 2006, according to data from NVCA. According to the report many funds have yet to realize returns from alternative energy which reflects the long gestation period required for such projects...Read More »



Waste Recycling Firm Enters Organic Chemicals Market

Los Angeles-based BioGold Fuels, a company focused on recycling solid waste into electricity, synthetic diesel fuel, and other renewable fuels, says it has formed a new subsidiary to produce organic chemicals made from processed municipal solid waste. The new unit, BioGold Organic Chemicals, will focus initially on glacial acetic acid used in plastics production, but will expand into bio-butanol and propanol, alternatives to ethanol and gasoline. BioGold says that it foresees "growing demand" for green, organic-based plastics components, driven in part by rising costs and limited supply of fossil fuels...Read More »



GE Authors White Paper on Recycling and Reusing Water

GE Water & Process Technologies has released a guide for policymakers (white paper) that describes policies and best practices for developing successful water conservation programs throughout the world. According to GE Water & Process CEO Jeff Garwood, the paper will give governments, communities and businesses a range of policy tools from public outreach to proactive regulatory programs and a means to weigh their options. Simultaneously, GE announced its commitment to reduce its own fresh water use by 20% by 2012...Read More »



Veolia Environmental Acquires Pipeline Company

Veolia ES Industrial Services said it acquired Pacific Liners, a full service pipe and sewer line restoration company. Pacific Liners had sales last year of $21 million derived from services that include cleaning, inspection, pipeline restoration, and manhole and structure rehabilitation. Veolia, which boasts that it is the largest industrial cleaning company in North America, expects the acquisition to bolster its ability to provide "turnkey sewer services throughout the U.S. and Canada."...Read More »



Texas Approves West Texas Nuclear Waste Facility

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality voted 2-1 to grant Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists LLC a license to build a radioactive waste facility in West Texas near New Mexico. In doing so, the agency rejected appeals by the Sierra Club and residents of Eunice, NM since none were actually Texas residents. WCS is owned by Harold Simmons, Chairman and CEO of NL Industries and big contributor to Gov. Rick Perry, who appoints members of the environmental commission. WCS will use the site to dispose of radioactive waste related to Cold War-era uranium processing. The company applied for a second license, which it hopes to receive next year, for another radioactive waste dump on the same property to bury low-level radioactive material such as medical waste...Read More »


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