Weekly News Bulletin: Nov. 17-23, 2009


IESI-BFC to Buy Waste Services for About $370 Million

IESI-BFC Ltd. agreed to buy Waste Services Inc. for about $370 million in stock, creating the third-largest North American waste company with annual revenue of almost $1.5 billion. Under the definitive merger deal, Waste Services shareholders will get 0.5833 of a share of IESI-BFC for each share held, resulting in IESI-BFC issuing 27.8 million shares for about a 23% stake in the combined company. The transaction, which is to be completed in the first quarter, represents a 7.2 percent premium to Waste Services' share price and is subject to various conditions such as regulatory and shareholder approvals.

The merger can be seen as a direct response to a long term industry trend towards privatization and the need to control larger volumes of waste to feed ever larger but fewer more dispersed landfills. The economy is galvanizing waste companies to expand economies of scale, streamline operations and increase market share as a means to protect pricing amid declining waste volumes. Waste Business Journal data reveals that even residential waste volumes declined beginning in 2007 while commercial and especially construction waste volume declined by nearly 20% in 2008. Spending on U.S. construction projects has fallen on a year-over-year basis in every month starting in November 2007, according to Commerce Department data...Read More »



Billionaires Circling the Waste Industry

The billionaires are circling the waste industry. This week, Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. purchased 3.625 million shares of Republic Services according to filings with the SEC. He joins Bill Gates whose Cascade Investment LLC owns a sizable 15% stake. Similarly, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private philanthropic fund, doubled its holding in Houston, Texas-based Waste Management Inc. to 15.7 million shares, from a previous 7.8 million...Read More »



Cities Fear New York E-Waste Lawsuit Threatens California Effort

Local governments in California are urging industry associations to drop a federal lawsuit challenging a New York City law mandating companies to establish electronic waste (e-waste) takeback programs, fearing that a successful legal challenge could doom efforts to advance California legislation. Groups backing similar proposed laws in California say the litigation, which challenges the constitutionality of New York City's program, could jeopardize similar efforts, often referred to as "extended producer responsibility" (EPR), in California and other states.

Industry groups filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in July challenging the constitutionality of many core aspects of the New York City product stewardship law arguing that the law improperly controls commerce in other states, burdens interstate commerce and violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution, among other things...Read More »



Utilities Worried Coal Ash Rules Will Force Shutdowns

The electric power industry is warning EPA and the White House that if it classifies coal ash as hazardous waste under the agency's pending first-time coal waste regulatory proposal, some power plants will be forced to shut down because they will not be able to afford the high fees associated with disposing of hazardous materials. EPA is under pressure to regulate coal waste under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) following the failure of a huge coal ash surface impoundment last December at a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) facility.

Environmentalists have long pressured EPA to regulate the waste as hazardous and to ban wet disposal in surface impoundments such as the TVA pond that failed. States and industry, however, are lobbying for EPA to issue a non-hazardous classification in order to preserve state enforcement authority over disposal and to protect beneficial reuse of coal ash, which can be recycled into materials such as concrete. EPA is considering several "hybrid" approaches to the rule, including regulating the wet disposal of coal ash in waste ponds as hazardous while regulating dry disposal in landfills as non-hazardous, as well as classifying all coal waste disposal as hazardous while regulating certain beneficial uses as non-hazardous. The industry worries that classifying coal ash as hazardous, even under some conditions, will effectively eliminate recycling which accounts for 40 percent of coal ash generated annually...Read More »



EPA: How to Regulate Waste Tires Burned as Fuel

The US EPA is facing a difficult political dilemma on how to regulate waste tires used as fuel in the wake of an appeals court ruling while satisfying the competing demands of facilities that burn tires, waste companies, state officials and environmentalists. At issue is EPA's pending proposed Clean Air Act rule to identify non-hazardous materials that are solid waste. EPA had sought to exempt tires and other waste material used as fuel from the incinerator rules' more stringent requirements, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected that approach, finding the agency lacked discretion to deviate from the statutory language requiring "any" waste to be regulated, whether it is burned as fuel or burned to be incinerated.

EPA has until April 15, 2010, to re-propose the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standard for boilers under section 112 of the Clean Air Act and the related but significantly more stringent rule for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators (CISWI) under section 129 of the air law...Read More »



Wheelabrator Discloses $240 Million Bid for SPSA

Wheelabrator Technologies said it is willing to buy the Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA) for $240 million, matching a similar offer from ReEnergy Holdings. Wheelabrator, a subsidiary of Waste Management, said it would prefer to buy only the Portsmouth waste to energy plant as previously proposed for $150 million. Both companies argue that their deals will help SPSA pay down its debt and dramatically reduce disposal fees charged to the eight member municipalities, six of which are paying the highest rates in the country...Read More »



California Public Utility Signs 20-Year Biomass Power Contract

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) awarded a 20-year contract to Buena Vista Biomass Power LLC which operates a 16 megawatt woody biomass power plant near Lone, CA. The deal solves two problems. It helps SMUD towards achieving 33% of its power from renewable energy by 2020, while removing excess woody wastes that have led to forestry and agriculture fires in the past. Under the contract, SMUD will receive all energy, capacity, and environmental attributes from the Project, upon commercial operation in the third quarter of 2010. SMUD is publicly owned is the sixth largest utility in the country...Read More »



Another Court Ruling against Famed Eagle Mountain Landfill

There has been another setback for the Eagle Mountain landfill southeast of Los Angeles. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that project developers failed to evaluate alternative sites or consider how the project, located near Joshua Tree National Park, would affect the desert ecosystem. The decision sets the stage for more hearings in the 20-year battle over what would be the largest landfill in the country planned on 4,654 acres of public land and old iron-ore pits owned by Ontario-based Kaiser Ventures LLC. The landfill would accept waste by train and truck from Los Angeles and elsewhere in Southern California. At issue is a 1997 land swap between Kaiser and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. They were sued by desert residents Larry and Donna Charpied and the National Parks Conservation Association, which claimed the government violated land and environmental policies in the property exchange. While the Court agreed that alternative sites had not been adequately considered, it disagreed with a lower court's opinion that the BLM had failed to do extensive environmental analysis or consider noise and other pollution impacts on the national park...Read More »



Waste Pro Launches Recycling Program at Atlanta Airport

Waste Pro (Longwood, FL) said it has launched a new recycling program at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport that allows visitors to place trash and recyclables in the same container. The hauler is spending $3 million to expand a local recycling facility to sort the 70 tons per day of comingled waste. The effort is expected to boost the airport's recycling rate from a dismal 3% currently to more than 70% within two years. Approximately 250,000 people visit the Atlanta airport each day...Read More »



Waste Management Issues $600 Million in Debt, to Help Acquisitions

Waste Management Inc sold $600 million of senior unsecured debt due in 2039. According to its filing with the SEC, the company plans to spend most of the proceeds over the next six months on acquisitions and use about $140 million to fund its purchase of a 40% equity investment in Shanghai Environment Group of China. That deal is subject to normal regulatory approval and is expected to be approved in early 2010...Read More »



Industrial Services' Third Quarter Revenue and Profit Doubles

Louisville, KY-based Industrial Services of America said that third quarter profits more than doubled since last year on revenue that increased to $80 million from $24 million last year. Net income rose 69% to 2.2 million, or $0.55 per share, from $1.3 million, or $0.36 per share in last year's third quarter. The company which buys, processes and markets scrap metals and offers commercial-waste-management programs and equipment attributed the jump in revenue to its acquisition of the Venture Metals stainless steel recycling business and an increase in shipments of 51.2% in ferrous metals, partially offset by a decrease in shipments of 12.1% in other nonferrous materials and an average decrease in price of commodities of 22.5%. Cuts in selling general and administrative (SG&A) costs also helped profits...Read More »



EnergySolutions Wins $24 Million Nuclear Cleanup Contract

EnergySolutions, Inc. (Salt Lake City, UT) said it won a $24.3 million contract from Exelon Nuclear (Chicago, IL) to remove and dispose of obsolete materials and equipment from several of the utility's power plants. Under the contract, the company will safely remove obsolete equipment and haul it to the company's radioactive waste landfill in Tooele County, UT for disposal...Read More »



Lockheed Martin Wins $145 Million Emergency Response Contract with EPA

The US EPA awarded Lockheed Martin a $145 million 7-year contract to provide technical and analytical support to its Environmental Response Team during environmental emergencies. Under the Scientific, Engineering, Response & Analytical Services (SERAS) Program, Lockheed Martin will provide 24-hour support and suggest containment strategies and assist with remediation during and after emergencies including releases of oil and hazardous materials and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. The new contract follows similar previous arrangements with a predecessor program (Response Engineering and Analytical Contract) beginning in 1999 and again in 2004...Read More »



Avalon Holdings' Third Quarter Revenue and Profit Off

Avalon Holdings said that third quarter revenue fell to $9.6 million from $14.3 million a year ago and that the waste management company broke even for the quarter compared to a profit of $.5 million, or $0.13 per share for the third quarter of 2008. Avalon provides waste management services in selected northeastern and Midwestern markets and owns a country club...Read More »


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