Weekly News Bulletin: Mar. 17-23, 2009


Gathering Storm Over Renewable Power Bill

Lobbyists are converging to battle over how much renewable power utilities will be required to use under legislation being crafted in a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) bill. It is a high-stakes debate involving business competition, regional politics and ideology about energy, and energy cost. A renewable electricity standard is expected in the coming months as stimulus spending, a push from Democratic leaders, and support from President Obama is adding momentum, especially since there have also been several recent efforts to make it law. The House in 2007 passed an energy bill that included a renewable electricity standard requiring utilities to use green sources for 15 percent of their power generation by 2020. The Senate dropped the provision from its version of the bill after it failed to pass on a test vote. The final compromise energy measure lacked the mandate. The House in 2008 passed an energy bill with a mandate of 20 percent by 2020, but the Senate did not act on that bill. The Senate now has seven more Democrats, several of whom replaced Republicans who did not support a national electricity standard...Read More »



EPA Will to Propose First-Time Coal Waste Regulations by Year End

The EPA plans to propose first-time regulations to control coal combustion waste (CCW) by the end of the year. The agency is responding to increasing pressure from environmentalists and some lawmakers in the wake of a coal ash pond that ruptured and spilled a billion gallons of waste at a TVA site in Tennessee. But the agency has still not determined whether to regulate the waste as hazardous under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), a key demand of many environmentalists.

Matthew Hale, director of EPA's Office of Resource Conservation & Recovery said recently that the agency is "committing to develop a regulatory proposal for comment by the end of this calendar year." Hale added that the agency is still weighing whether to regulate the waste as hazardous under subtitle C of RCRA -- which many activist groups support -- or with less stringent regulation as a non-hazardous waste under subtitle D of the law...Read More »



Veolia Environnement Posts Drop in Income Despite 13% Gain in Revenue

Veolia Environnement SA announced that its fiscal 2008 net income dropped to €525 million or €0.62 per share, from €1.3 billion or €2.17 per share last year. Higher expenses and €405.6 million impairment losses recognized by Veolia Environmental Services in Germany were chiefly to blame. Excluding those impacts, recurring net income would have been €703 million. However, consolidated revenue for the year was up 13.4% to €36.2 billion from €31.9 billion last year. At constant exchange rate, revenue grew 15.8%. The environmental group noted that its internal revenue was up 9.6%, boosted by commercial development across its businesses, while external revenue grew 6.2%, primarily due to acquisitions made by Veolia Environmental Services...Read More »



South Carolina Considers Moratorium on New Landfills

Taking a page from its neighbor to the north, legislators in South Carolina are considering a moratorium on any new or expanded landfills in the state. Despite a sharp decline in the number of operating landfills in the state, there are now only 18, down from 80 before more stringent regulations took effect in the early 90's, those remaining have grown significantly in size. That happened as a consequence of growing demand for disposal and a change in regulations approved in 2000 that favored a regional approach that allowed the bigger landfills to accept far more waste. The additional capacity and relatively low tipping fees as attracted steadily more out-of-state waste which is currently over a million tons per year. Increased activity at the existing dumps is both a blessing and a curse. It brings revenues from host fees but draws ire from neighbors and environmentalists who fear that the state is quickly becoming a dumping ground for other states. Now they are taking their case to the state. While state senators consider a moratorium, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control could propose new regulations that would restrict waste acceptance...Read More »



WCA Waste Posts Charge to 4Q Net Income on Revenue Gain

WCA Waste Corp. reported record quarterly revenue of $53.6 million, up 8% for its fourth quarter and revenue for the year of $208 million that was up 12.5% over last years'. However, the company took an after tax charge of $27 for the impairment of goodwill leading causing it to report a fourth quarter net loss that had widened to $30 million or $1.91 per share from a loss of $2.5 million or $0.15 per share in the prior year quarter. Without the charge, net income would have been $0.5 million, or $0.03 per share...Read More »



Localities in Southeastern Virginia Will Have High Fees to Save Agency

Municipalities in southern Virginia that are members of the Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA) will likely soon be paying $175 per ton for waste disposal, the highest rate in the country. The rate increase is central to a plan to keep the troubled agency afloat long enough to sell assets and take other steps to pay off $240 million in debt. Earlier proposals included a rate hike as high as $245 per ton. The proposal, which was presented to city members last week, would still need to pass muster with the Virginia Resources Authority to whom the agency owes $129 million. Among other measures are plans to sell its waste-to-energy plant in Portsmouth this summer and to close on the sale by Sept. 1. Also, some of the member municipalities would guarantee the restructuring of $72 million worth of debt, a measure that Chesapeake City Manager William Harrell said would create some "skin in the game," giving them a vested interest in the survival of the enterprise...Read More »



Perma-Fix Cleared to Accept Radioactive PCBs at Tennessee Facility

Perma-Fix Environmental Services announced that it had fulfilled all necessary regulatory requirements and begin operating its treatment unit for the destruction of radioactive Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) at its Diversified Scientific Services, Inc. (DSSI) facility in Kingston, TN. According to Dr. Louis F. Centofanti, chairman and CEO, "through this effort we have carved out an important niche as the only commercial operator in the United States authorized to destroy radioactive PCBs, which also provides commercial generators with the first licensed and approved option for radioactive PCBs. The permit and our new capabilities also provide the DOE with a fully licensed, commercially permitted, and low-risk alternate option for the TSCA incinerator scheduled to close later this year."...Read More »



Green Energy Wins Wood Pellet Export Orders Valued at $28 Million

New York-based Green Energy Resources said that it had secured two separate wood pellet export orders to Europe valued at approximately $14 million each. The orders are set to commence this summer and represent a volume about 120 thousand tons over a 12-month period. The pellets are being sourced from Texas. The company anticipates record sales this year with significant growth in exports and domestic sales with the onset of a US renewable energy market...Read More »


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