Weekly News Bulletin: Dec. 8-14, 2009


EPA Declares Greenhouse Gases Threaten Public Health and Environment

The US EPA said greenhouse gases are a danger to public health and welfare in a decision that threatens to pave the way to new emissions regulations. It's "endangerment finding" announced this week by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, is a first step towards giving the agency authority to regulate new emissions standards for cars and eventually larger emitters such as power plants, refineries, and chemical plants to limit their output of carbon dioxide and other gases. It has been seen by critics as an insurance policy in case Congress fails to pass its Climate Bill. The endangerment finding sets up regulation of greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act which many believe would be more stringent than under the climate legislation currently proposed in Congress.

The EPA's finding "could result in a top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said earlier in a statement.

"These long-overdue findings cement 2009's place in history as the year when the United States Government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. The EPA action also seems crafted to add credibility to the Obama Administration on the eve of the Copenhagen conference next week...Read More »



Advanced Disposal Acquires All Star Waste in Tennessee

Advanced Disposal Services Inc. (Jacksonville, FL) bought All Star Waste Systems LLC, a company with 61,000 customers in the Memphis, TN area that provides hauling, recycling and disposal services. The acquisition, terms of which were not disclosed, represents a new frontier for the company which until now served customers in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. "Acquiring a successful and respected company like All Star Waste Systems is incredibly beneficial to us," said Gerald Greene, Advanced Disposal's Mid-South Area president. Hunter Caruthers, President of All Star, will serve as General Manager of the new Advanced Disposal Company...Read More »



Conn. Waste Company Owner Gets Probation; Judge Calls Him a 'Victim'

The owner of a Danbury, CT waste company was given probation and fined for his role in a now famous price-fixing scheme. Joseph R. LoStocco, the 50-year-old owner of JR LoStocco Carting pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) as early as April 2006. He was given a lighter sentence owing to his early acceptance of responsibility and subsequent cooperation with authorities. Senior U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns called LoStocco a "victim as well as a defendant." LoStocco admitted he participated in a "property rights system" that pushed haulers known locally as carters to collude to keep prices high and agree not to compete for one another's customers. Proponents employed Genovese crime family muscle to enforce compliance. Thirty-three people were charged as a result of the investigation. All have pleaded guilty...Read More »



Enerkem Will Get $50 Million DOE Funding for Waste-to-Biofuels Project

Enerkem Inc. (Montreal, QC) said that the U.S. Department of Energy will provide $50 million in funding for its waste-to-biofuels project in Pontotoc, MS. The company plans to build and operate the biorefinery which will initially produce 10 million gallons of ethanol annually from municipal waste and wood residues. Capacity will later be doubled to 20 million gallons per year. "It means the Department of Energy becomes our partner in this advanced biofuels project," said Enerkem CEO Vincent Chornet. "The project is a forerunner of what we hope to do to help the U.S. achieve improved energy and environmental performance."...Read More »



Study Says Litter Down by 61% in Past 40 Years; Still Much to be done

A new study declares that littering in America has decreased by 61% in the last 40 years, but remains to be a significant and costly problem. The study is considered by its author Keep America Beautiful (KAB) to be the largest litter study ever conducted in the US as it attempts to identify and quantify many of the causes, effects and costs of litter in America. To do this, KAB conducted behavioral studies observing nearly 10,000 individuals in 130 locations in 10 states and measured roadway litter in 45 metropolitan areas nationwide. Among its many findings are that litter costs $11.5 billion per year, not including significant indirect costs associated with decreased property values, commerce and tourism in blighted areas, and related adverse health effects. The study estimates that there are 51.2 billion pieces of litter on roadways, equal to 6,729 pieces of litter for every mile. The biggest culprits are smokers whose butts comprise 38% of all items littered. 81% of all littering was foundto be intentional and 15% of littering was influenced by the presence of existing litter or the lack of available waste receptacles. Older people tend not to litter as much but men and women are equally guilty.

According to John Culbertson, Principal of MidAtlantic Solid Waste Consultants and one of the primary researchers on the project, there were actually two studies conducted - one to measure the amount of litter on our nation's roadways and certain other non-roadway areas, and one to determine how often people actually exhibit littering behavior and what contributes to such behavior. "There was definitely a great deal of interest and excitement over the litter research. It is very impressive to have nationally representative data about litter rates and the various behaviors that generate litter. The data contained in these reports will take months to fully analyze."...Read More »



EPA Proposes to Withdraw the Emission Comparable Fuels Rule

After much criticism from activists, the US EPA is proposing to withdraw its controversial Emission Comparable Fuels (ECF) rule. The rule, which became effective in January this year, was intended to encourage recycling or conversion to energy of wastes otherwise considered hazardous, as long as any emissions from the process were less than or equal to those of fuel oil. It also meant to remove regulatory costs by reclassifying certain manufacturing byproducts as non-wastes. The rule has been criticized for allowing hazardous waste to evade the hazardous waste regulatory system, and for being difficult to administer. Industry too had been critical of the burdensome reporting requirements and overly detailed prescriptive conditions for reclassification required by the rule...Read More »



Casella Waste Swings to Quarterly Loss on Lower Volume and Commodity Prices

Casella Waste Systems reported a fiscal second quarter loss on lower revenue and waste volumes. Profit fell to a loss of $1.55 million, or ($0.06) per share, from net income of $2.07 million, or $0.08 a year ago. Lower waste volumes and prices paid for recovered materials hurt revenue which declined by 15% to $133.73 million from $157.54 million last year. That has prompted the company to cut its work force, reduce capital expenditures and most importantly, raise pricing. Last summer, the company amended its credit facility and sold $180 million in five-year notes. That led its auditors removed its going-concern doubts. Chairman and CEO John Casella is optimistic. "Our successful solid waste operating efficiency initiatives are helping to offset continued weakness in economically sensitive volumes, with solid waste Adjusted EBITDA margins up over the same period last year."...Read More »



Consumer Electronics Makers Continue Fight against NYC E-Waste Program

Consumer Electronics companies argue that New York City's e-waste program will cause them "irreparable harm" and cost them more than $200 million a year in compliance costs, according to their latest filing in their lawsuit that asks the U.S. District Court, Manhattan, for a preliminary injunction to prevent the program from taking effect. Furthermore, the program "places the electronics industry on the precipice of an unprecedented collection and recycling mandate that threatens the viability of many of the plaintiffs during a severe recession." Industry groups filed the lawsuit 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.

Other governments and environmentalists are following the case closely, fearing that a successful legal challenge could jeopardize similar efforts, often referred to as "extended producer responsibility" (EPR), in other states...Read More »



Smurfit-Stone Plans to Emerge from Bankruptcy in Spring 2010

Smurfit Stone Container Corp, one of the largest makers of paper-based packaging, filed a reorganization plan in U.S. Bankruptcy Court and aims to emerge from Chapter 11 protection in the spring of 2010. The Chicago-based company filed bankruptcy on Jan. 26, blaming the global economic downturn that cut demand for its products and hurt its ability to refinance its revolving credit. However, the company has prepaid all of the remaining $43 million outstanding on its U.S. term loan under its debtor-in-possession credit facility. Under its plan, almost all of the unsecured debt of Smurfit-Stone Container Enterprises, Inc. would be converted into equity. New common shares would be traded on the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq stock market, while existing shareholders will be wiped out. Attorneys for existing shareholders called the plan a "placeholder," saying it was unclear whether the company might also be sold.

"The filing of our plan of reorganization and disclosure statement is an important step toward Smurfit-Stone's successful emergence from the reorganization process," said Patrick J. Moore, chairman and CEO...Read More »



Giant Apex Landfill in Las Vegas to Sell Power from $20 Million Project

Three companies are collaborating to develop a $20 million landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) project at Republic Services' giant Apex landfill near Las Vegas, NV. A company called Energenic (Mays Landing, NJ) through its subsidiary CC Landfill Energy LLC will develop the 11 megawatt plant that is expected to open in late 2011. It is expected to produce enough power to serve 7,000 homes during peak-load periods in the hot summer months. The company has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy, a large utility that serves customers in Nevada and California. "Landfill gas, a clean, renewable energy source, will help Nevada meet its recent commitment to increase its renewable energy portfolio standard," said Jim O´Connor, CEO at Republic Services. Nevada law requires utilities to use renewable sources for a quarter of the power they sell by 2025...Read More »



RecycleBank Expands Philadelphia Program Citywide

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the citywide expansion of its rewards-based recycling program conducted by RecycleBank. It is an expansion of its pilot program begun in 2005 that rewards residents based on the weight of their recycling containers. Rewards points are redeemable for goods and services at over 140 participating national, regional and local businesses. The city is using a $700,000 stimulus grant to help pay for retrofitting recycling collection vehicles with on-board weighing equipment. "Single stream recycling has proven so effective in increasing the amount of recyclables collected, and we will build upon that momentum as we add RecycleBank," said Mayor Nutter. The city will pay Recycle Bank based on the amount of money that it saves by diverting materials from landfills, where dumping costs about $65 a ton. Recycling had brought revenue before the markets for them collapsed last year...Read More »



Laidlaw's Berlin Biomass Energy Project Receives Favorable Results

Laidlaw Berlin BioPower, LLC, which is developing a new 66-megawatt biomass facility in Berlin, NH, said it received confirmation of existing adequate interconnection capacity on the local transmission system. Results indicate that Laidlaw's Berlin BioPower facility will be able to connect to the transmission system with minimal upgrades estimated to cost less than $1 million. Laidlaw President and CEO Michael Bartoszek said "We are extremely pleased with the results of the study as it confirms our long-standing position that there is sufficient capacity on the system for multiple renewable energy projects."...Read More »



CRI Study Warns of Perils of Single-Stream Recycling

The Container Recycling Institute unveiled a new study that advises against single-stream collection of recyclables. The study notes that mingling various materials, including plastic, paper, metal and glass, results in a stream that is difficult and expensive for recyclers to handle. "Basically, the report confirms that you can't unscramble an egg," explains CRI Executive Director Susan Collins. "Once the materials are mixed together in a single-stream recycling system, there will be cross-contamination of materials and significant glass breakage. Those cross-contamination and breakage issues then result in increased costs for the secondary processors."

Despite these issues, over the last decade many municipalities have shifted to single-stream recycling, in which glass, metal, plastic, and paper are collected in a single receptacle, making it easier for consumers and thereby boosting recovery rates while also reducing collection costs...Read More »



Sustainable Energy Buys Baton Rouge Renewable Energy

Sustainable Energy Solutions is acquiring Baton Rouge Renewable Energy, which plans to install a landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) plant at the city's North landfill. SES, which is owned by Highstar Capital, a New York investment firm that also owns Advanced Disposal Services Inc. (Jacksonville, FL), and Interstate Waste Services Inc. (Ramsey, NJ), has three other LFGTE projects in Georgia and Alabama. Baton Rouge Renewable Energy has a deal with Siemens Industry, Inc. to construct the landfill gas system which will fuel ExxonMobil and Novolyte Technologies Inc. boilers via a 4.5 mile pipeline...Read More »



Safety-Kleen President, CEO Florjancic to Retire

Safety-Kleen President and CEO Frederick J. Florjancic will retire effective Dec. 31. "After a 40-year business career, the last six leading Safety-Kleen, I have decided to retire," Florjancic, 63, said. He will remain with the company in a consulting capacity for several months to help the Board of Directors look for his successor and to provide for an orderly transition. Florjancic became president and CEO of the company in June 2004, shortly after the company emerged from bankruptcy. During his tenure, company revenues grew by nearly 50 percent, from $860 million in 2004 to $1.2 billion in 2008...Read More »


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