Weekly News Bulletin: May 26-Jun. 1, 2009


Waxman Climate Bill Likely to be Marked Up by Other Committees

The House Energy & Commerce Committee's approval of climate and energy legislation opens the door to a new round of negotiations as multiple committees wrestle over modifications to the measure, including mechanisms to shield consumers from increased energy costs and protect various industrial sectors and special interests in combating global warming. The 900-plus page bill, introduced by committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and energy and environment subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-MA), was approved late May 21 after four consecutive days of markup, and includes provisions to establish first-time carbon cap-and-trade requirements and a national renewable electricity standard. At the announcement, Waxman indicated a willingness to consider changes to the legislation in an effort broaden support for final House passage. Lawmakers on the committee passed more than two dozen amendments on a wide-range of subjects, key among them are provisions regarding nuclear energy, vehicle efficiency and the distribution of emission allowances...Read More »



SWANA Applauds Changes to Proposed Climate Change Bill

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) said it applauds recent changes to the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454) that pertains to waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities. The so-called Climate Change bill, authored by U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA), would create a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions and require utilities to use renewable sources of energy to generate electricity. Under the draft version of the bill, released at the end of April, WTE plants would have been regulated under the cap-and-trade program and would not have qualified as providers of renewable power. However, the bill was amended to exclude WTE from cap-and-trade and reclassified as a renewable energy after both SWANA and the Washington-based Energy Recovery Council, which represents the WTE industry, raised objections. The new version specifically excludes operations that derive 95% or more of their energy from municipal solid waste. "SWANA is very pleased that the renewable energy and climate benefits of waste-to-energy are now recognized in the climate bill," said John H. Skinner, executive director and CEO of SWANA, in a press release. "While there are still a number of questions and concerns that need to be resolved in the bill's language, SWANA looks forward to working with the Congress in improving this important legislation."...Read More »



Waste Management Considers Venture in Chinese Market

Waste Management CEO David Steiner disclosed at an interview that his company was in talks with Shanghai Environment Group Co., Ltd. about the creation of a joint venture. Shanghai Environment has set a goal of building 100 renewable energy recycling plants over the next five years, attracted by China's renewable energy promotion policies. Steiner noted that his company will be a small shareholder in the yet to be created venture...Read More »



Waste Management to Develop Landfill Gas Project in Will County, IL

Waste Management and Will County, IL are jointly developing a landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) plant at the county's Prairie View Recycling and Disposal Facility near Wilmington, IL. The project which is scheduled to begin operation around the end of 2010 is expected to produce 2.4 to 3.2 megawatts of power. Waste Management operates the landfill, which opened in January 2004, under a long-term agreement. In 2007, the company announced a goal of adding 60 LFGTE plans by 2013, and remain confident of meeting that target...Read More »



Obama Administration Calls on Congress to Clarify Purview of Clean Water Act

The Obama administration has asked Congress to pass legislation that clarifies which bodies of water are subject to the Clean Water Act. In a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and the heads of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Agriculture Department and the Interior Department signed a letter asking Congress to address confusion stemming from two U.S. Supreme Court decisions. They were referring to the 2001 ruling in the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the 2006 decision in Rapanos v. the United States, both of which narrowed the scope of the 37-year-old Clean Water Act as it applies to smaller bodies of water and wetlands. In response, Sen. Boxer said this week that "The Obama Administration has provided a clear call for legislation to ensure that the Clean Water Act continues to be an effective tool to keep America's waters clean and our families healthy. I look forward to working closely with the Administration and my colleagues in the Senate to enact legislation that protects rivers, lakes and wetlands and keeps Americans' drinking water safe while providing the clear guidance that farmers, businesses, federal agencies, and state and local governments need."...Read More »



Waste Management and InEnTec Form Plasma Gasification Venture

Waste Management has formed a joint venture with Bend, OR-based InEnTec called S4 Energy Solutions Inc. to develop and operate plasma gasification facilities. The sites will use InEnTec's Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM) technology to create energy and fuels from medical, commercial and industrial waste. "We see waste as a resource to be recovered, and this joint venture with the PEM(TM) system will help Waste Management's commercial and industrial customers maximize high energy value waste streams to generate valuable renewable energy products based on their unique environmental and logistical considerations," said Joe Vaillancourt, managing director at Waste Management. "With InEnTec, Waste Management has found a partner with a promising technology as well as strong management, research and development capabilities to address the hurdles to implementing a new technology." Under the PEM process, "waste materials are fed into a closed chamber where they are superheatedto temperatures of between 10,000 and 20,000 degrees Fahrenheit using an electricity-conducting gas called plasma." The resulting synthetic gas can be converted to ethanol and diesel fuels, among other things...Read More »


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