Weekly News Bulletin: May 5-11, 2009


Republic Services' First Quarter Profit Boosted by Acquisition

Republic Services posted first quarter profit increase of 49%, helped by its recent purchase of Allied Waste Industries Inc. Net income rose to $113 million, or $0.30 per share, from $76.1 million, or $0.41 per share, a year ago. The per share discrepancy is due to more shares outstanding in the current quarter owing to the merger. Revenue nearly tripled to $2.06 billion, reflecting the acquisition of Allied. "During the first quarter, we continued to see positive results regarding the merger of Republic and Allied," Chairman James E. O'Connor said. "Thus far, we have captured more than $75 million in annual run-rate synergy savings. We are well on our way, and remain confident in our commitment, to secure a total annual savings of at least $150 million by the end of 2010." For 2009, Republic still expects to earn $1.70 to $1.75 per share before items, on revenue of about $8.45 billion...Read More »



Waste Management Earnings Hurt by Downturn and Special Charges

Waste Management announced that first quarter earnings dropped to $155 million, or $0.31 per share on revenue of $2.8 billion compared to earnings of $241 million, or $0.48 per share on revenue of $3.3 billion in last year's first quarter. Revenues are down in accordance with decreased waste volume, particularly those from business and construction projects that are a direct result of the economy. Biting the bullet, management took a $23 million charge for a restructuring plan announced in February, and a $30 million loss related to the abandonment of SAP software. However, the company ultimately hopes the restructuring measures to save about $120 million a year. Without the charge and loss, the company said it would have recorded net earnings of $0.42 per share, compared with $0.47 per share for the 2008 first quarter, which included a $0.01 per share benefit due to $6 million from income tax audit settlements...ReadMore »



Renewable Energy Mandate May be Eased in Climate Change Bill

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) is suggesting options for a scaled-back renewable electricity standard (RES) of 17.5 percent in an effort to seek a consensus with members of his committee who are interested in easing the compliance burdens of his pending climate-and-energy bill. The fate and design of an RES is a crucial component of the Democrats' broader climate change strategy. Congress may choose to act first on clean-energy mandates while pushing back eventual passage of cap-and-trade legislation despite the argument that enacting them in tandem would lower the costs of achieving the emissions cap. The revised offer from Waxman comes in the wake of late April calls from several swing-vote lawmakers on the panel, including Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), for a variety of changes to the legislation, including a call to lower the renewable electricity standard to 15 percent and allow an array of energy sources, including waste-to-energy plants, to count as renewable in order to boost flexibility for the power sector...Read More »



Strange Bedfellows: Activists and Labor Opposing Credits for Waste-to-Energy

A coalition of environmental and civil rights groups is lobbying Congress to reject proposals that would credit landfill methane or waste-to-energy projects as clean-energy sources or emission offsets under potential federal renewable energy or climate change programs. These groups argue that recycling rather than burning the waste as fuel would generate significantly more green jobs and that methane credits encourage landfills. The grassroots organizations including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, California Communities Against Toxics, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and International Rivers are apparently coordinating their efforts with major labor unions under the umbrella of the Change to Win coalition, a group of unions formed in 2005 as an alternative to the AFL-CIO, in an effort to collaborate on the waste-to-energy issue. Their position is in marked contrast to the stance of major national groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural ResourcesDefense Council, which endorse some kind of a role for offsets in climate legislation for reasons that include bolstering political support and achieving a market for forest protection in developing nations. Proponents of burning landfill methane and wastes as fuel say the procedures avoid the greenhouse gas effects of producing traditional fuels, such as oil and coal. Behind the effort is the theory that recycling plants employ far more workers than do waste-to-energy plants and that raising costs to landfill will encourage more labor-intensive (job creating) recycling with less impact to the environment...Read More »



EPA to Revisit Waste Definition and Comparable Fuels Rule

In response to activists' charges and a lawsuit, the EPA is beginning the process of seeking public comment to revise its Definition of Solid Waste rule and the Emission Comparable Fuels rule. A lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club and others seeks to stop the EPA from deregulating many hazardous substances for the purpose of encouraging their recovery or conversion to energy as proposed under the Bush Administration...Read More »



BFI Canada Posts Strong First Quarter Despite Economic Downturn

BFI Canada managed to post higher first quarter profit and revenue despite the adverse effects of the economy. Substantially higher core pricing in both its Canadian and US segments more than offset declines in volume of waste collected and declines due to lower prices for recycled commodes processed. Overall quarterly revenue of the company rose 14.1% to C$278 million. Profit for the quarter rose to C$12.2 million, or C$0.17 per share, compared with of C$10.5 million, or C$0.15 per share, in last year's first quarter. "We are very pleased with our strong performance in the first quarter, the result of year-over-year improvement in profitability, margins and free cash flow," said Keith Carrigan, Vice Chairman and CEO. "These milestones were achieved in spite of a difficult economic environment. We are confident that our market-focused strategies, combined with the resilience of our diversified business model and positive cash flow, place us in a strong position for the balance of the year."...Read More »



SWANA Objects to Treatment of Waste-to-Energy in Climate Bill

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is objecting to the treatment of waste-to-energy (WTE) in proposed federal legislation that would create a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases (GHG). Commenting on the Waxman-Markey discussion draft climate bill, released on March 31, SWANA said it disagreed with the bill's proposal to regulate biogenic emissions from waste-to-energy facilities and its failure to include waste-to-energy under the renewable portfolio standard. The association's concerns are outlined in a letter that SWANA Executive Director and CEO John Skinner sent to U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the ranking member of the committee. "The direct emissions from [WTE] facilities are more than offset by the overall greenhouse gas reductions that [WTE] provides," Skinner says in the letter. SWANA does support the proposed legislation's exclusion of landfillsfrom emission regulations and inclusion of landfill gas in the renewable energy portfolio standard...Read More »



EPA Criticized For Pharmaceutical Waste Proposal

EPA is facing criticism over its proposal to ease pharmaceutical waste regulations, with state regulators, industry groups and public water treatment authorities all raising concerns that the proposal will not be effective in achieving the agency's stated goals of increasing the proper disposal of pharmaceutical wastes and promoting pharmaceutical take-back programs. Criticism stems from concerns that the agency's proposal to add pharmaceuticals to the list of universal wastes under its Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations will be rendered moot if other federal agencies, especially the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), do not similarly revise their own regulations. Currently, reverse distributors cannot accept most pharmaceutical wastes generated outside the pharmacy. The Environmental Technology Council (ETC), said of EPA's failure to "coordinate with DEA, the proposed rule attempts to ignore this elephant in the room." Nevertheless, the proposal attemptsto simplify the management of RCRA hazardous pharmaceutical wastes and to make it easier for consumers to properly dispose these wastes through available take-back programs rather than flush them into the environment...Read More »



EPA Identifies Most Dangerous Coal Ash Sites

The EPA has identified forty-four potentially dangerous coal ash impoundment sites around the country, similar to the TVA site in Kingston, TN where a massive spill occurred last December. The agency has yet to send inspectors to those sites so they have been deemed potentially hazardous based only on their location and not because of any information about the status of the structures. So far, the agency estimates that there are about 1,300 coal waste storage sites around the country. EPA officials aim to propose new regulations for the management of coal waste by the end of the year. A key issue will be whether to designate coal ash as a hazardous waste under federal law. In 2000, the EPA determined that coal ash was not hazardous, but the agency also was supposed to write regulations governing its disposal as a non-hazardous waste. About 131 million tons of coal ash was produced in 2007...Read More »



Advanced Disposal Files Suit Against Gwinnett County, GA

Jacksonville, FL-based Advanced Disposal recently filed suit seeking $40 million in damages against Gwinnett County and a non-profit agency overseeing its waste program for rescinding its contract with the company to service 90,000 customers in the unincorporated areas of the county. Another company, Waste Pro has filed a separate $40 million suit having also been awarded a similar contract under a plan whereby the county had delegated its solid waste operations to non-profit Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful Services which in turn, contracted the service to both companies. However, a superior court ruled that the plan improperly turned governmental duties, including enforcement functions to a private agency and erred in the process of awarding franchises. Both haulers claim that when their contracts were awarded in November, they incurred millions of dollars in expenses preparing to take over garbage collection in the county. This included order trucks and equipment as well as building out facilities...Read More »



Clean Harbors to Acquire Eveready Inc. for $387 Million

Clean Harbors, Inc. signed a $387 million agreement to purchase Eveready Inc., a Canadian firm that provides services to oil and gas refineries and other industries. Clean Harbors will pay $167 million and assume $220 million in Eveready debt. Clean Harbors chairman and CEO Alan McKim said the company hopes to gain necessary regulatory approvals and close the deal by the end of the third quarter. Eveready has more than 2,100 employees worldwide and reported $614 million in 2008...Read More »



Oshkosh Corp. Records Quarterly Loss with Drop in Demand

Oshkosh Corp., which makes specialty equipment including waste management vehicles, reported a quarterly loss that includes a massive impairment charge, as the economic downturn continued to weigh on demand for its products, and warned that it would record a loss for the full fiscal year even before charges. Oshkosh reported a loss of $1.19 billion, or $16.02 per share, for the second quarter ended March 31, compared with a year-earlier profit of $72.6 million, or $0.97 a share. The results included impairment charges of $15.78 a share related to goodwill and other long-lived assets. Even without the charges, the company would have reported a loss of $0.24 per share. Revenue fell 28% to $1.3 billion, with a 69% drop in revenue at the company's aerial work platform unit offsetting a 31% jump in military sales...Read More »



Oshkosh Corp. to Sell Dutch Unit Geesink Norba Group

Oshkosh Corp. has reached a deal to sell its Dutch waste management unit called Geesink Norba Group to private equity firm Platinum Equity. The company expects to close the deal during the second half of its 2009 fiscal year but did not provide financial terms of the sale. Oshkosh said it will retain ownership of the Romanian facility that supplies fabrications to the Geesink Norba Group and to JLG Industries...Read More »



New Landfill Gas-to-Energy Plant is Largest in Utah

Trans-Jordan Landfill in South Jordan, UT has begun operating a 4.5 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy project. It is now the fourth such operation and the largest in the state. The landfill, which is cooperatively owned by several Utah cities, spent about $1.5 million on the project, but received $209,000 federal grant. The project was developed and will be operated by Granger Power. Murray City Power will purchase the electricity under a partnership with Trans-Jordan Cities. The electricity will be transmitted via Rocky Mountain Power's utility grid through a Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems agreement...Read More »



Carpet America Recovery Reports Decline in Recovery for 2008

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), which represents industry and governmental stakeholders in promoting carpet reuse and recovery, said that recycling of post-consumer carpet fell in 2008 by 11.4% from that of 2007. According to CARE Board Chairman Frank Hurd, "the amount of decrease was less than expected, especially in light of profoundly negative business results reported by other industries in 2008."...Read More »


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