Weekly News Bulletin: May 12-18, 2009


Covanta's First Quarter Declines with Lower Energy and Commodity Prices

Covanta Holding Corp. reported a decline in first quarter revenue and profit primarily the result of lower recycled metal and energy prices amid lower waste volumes. Net income for the quarter fell to $1.1 million, $0.01 per share, from $13.9 million, $0.09 per share in the same period last year. Commenting on these results, Anthony Orlando, President and CEO said that the company "continued to ramp up our international development to pursue promising opportunities and we spent money on recently acquired facilities which will pay future dividends." Operating revenue for the quarter decreased 8% to $358.8 million from $388.8 million in the prior-year quarter...Read More »



CT Supreme Court Sides with Towns in $36 Million Suit against CRRA

The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) lost another and perhaps its final round in its long-running lawsuit from its 70 member towns as the state's Supreme Court upheld a lower court's award of $35.8 million against the waste agency. The towns sued more than five years ago claiming the quasi-public agency overcharged them to recoup losses from a bad loan made to Enron Corp. A Waterbury judge ruled that the CRRA breached its contract with the local governments and gained "unjust enrichment" by raising its garbage disposal fees. The judge said the higher fees were to cover losses from a failed $220 million loan to Enron, which went bankrupt soon after the deal was made in 2001. In its unanimous decision last week, Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers said the definition of unjust enrichment is easily understood. The original plan involved a CRRA agreement to sell Enron electricity generated at the state agency's Hartford waste-to-energy plant from 2001 to 2012. CRRA advanced $220million to Enron for a 7 percent return, bringing the total deal to more than $280 million. The agency managed to recoup most of the money it lost through legal settlements, but had to borrow $21.5 million to fill the remaining loss gap...Read More »



Congressman Argues that "Cap and Trade" is a Wealth Transfer Program

Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA) is arguing that the current climate change bill being espoused by Reps. Waxman and Markey is really a "cap and tax" plan that transfers resources away from productive renewable and clean energy programs into other government initiatives, calling it essentially an anti-progressive tax system on all energy users. He is particularly concerned that proven technologies like nuclear energy and waste-to-energy are apparently off the table. In judging its cost to the economy, he points to a previous attempt to regulate greenhouse gases under the Warner-Lieberman plan which by some estimates would have resulted in aggregate real GDP losses of nearly $5 trillion and 900,000 jobs lost in the first 20 years after enactment. He argues that we should be seeking a system that creates incentives rather than punishments that lets the market pick the winners...Read More »



EPA Developing Voluntary Standard to Certify "Green Remediation"

The EPA says it is in the early stages of developing a voluntary "green remediation" standard as part of a broader ongoing effort to encourage the use of best management practices at cleanup sites to incorporate sustainability principles and reduce the overall impact of cleanups on the environment. EPA defines green remediation as "the practice of considering all environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporating options to maximize the net environmental benefit of cleanup actions." Last month EPA Region III released a draft framework for developing a voluntary green cleanup standard. The framework encourages practices such as minimizing the use of energy; reducing the use and waste of water; reducing the cleanup's impact on surrounding natural resources; and encouraging the reuse, reduction and recycling of materials on-site...Read More »



SWANA and NSWMA Worried EPA is Ignoring Valuable Data on Landfill Emissions

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) have sent a joint letter to the EPA about their concern that the agency is ignoring valuable data, the consequence of which could lead to inappropriate landfill emissions standards in the agency's rule making. Those standards are critical in determining each landfill's ability to comply with federal, state and local air quality permits. Both groups seem somewhat perplexed at the EPA's rejection of detailed study data and the long delay in advising of the rejection. Currently, the EPA is in the process of revising AP-42 Section 2.4 for Estimating Emissions from Municipal Solid Waste Landfills...Read More »



Mass. Company Proposes Waste-to-Energy Plant for Waterbury, CT

The Associated Press reports that Massachusetts-based Chestnut Hill BioEnergy is proposing to build a large-scale food-waste-to-energy plant in Waterbury, CT. The plant would be designed to accept 625 tons of garbage per day to generate 12 megawatts of electricity, which it would sell to Connecticut Light & Power. The company has already signed an agreement to buy the site of an old factory on which to locate the plant...Read More »



Rentech, Inc. to Build Waste-to-Synthetic Fuel Plant in California

Rentech Inc., which owns a technology for converting synthesis gas from biomass into clean fuels, plans to build a biodiesel production plant in Rialto, CA. The Rialto Renewable Energy Center will produce about 600 barrels of biodiesel per day and export approximately 35 megawatts of renewable electricity. The plant's carbon footprint will be nearly zero because it will use renewable feedstock, said D. Hunt Ramsbottom, president and CEO of Rentech. The company has a licensing agreement with SilvaGas Corp. for producing synthesis gas from biomass...Read More »



Decline in Nuclear Cleanups Hurts EnergySolutions' First Quarter Earnings

EnergySolutions Inc. said that lower nuclear-plant cleanup and tight credit markets were to blame for sharply lower first quarter revenue and profit. Earnings declined by 58% to $8.1 million, or $0.09 per share, from $19.3 million, $0.22 per share, in last year's first quarter. Revenue declined to $437.1 million from $501.8 million last year. "Looking ahead, we expect our federal services and international segments to continue to grow," said Steve Creamer, EnergySolutions' chief executive officer. He said the company is on target to meet its GAAP earnings guidance of $0.50 to $0.60 per share for 2009 assuming that additional stimulus funds will have a positive impact on the company's business...Read More »


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