State environment officials continue to oppose EPA designation of coal combustion waste (CCW) as a 'hazardous waste" under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) and are instead seeking less-stringent "solid" waste rules covered by state regulation. The EPA is considering a "hybrid" approach in which CCW would be classified as hazardous under certain conditions and non-hazardous in others such as beneficial reuse applications.
The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), in a resolution approved March 23 said that any federal regulation of coal waste is "not warranted" and would be duplicative of state efforts to address the material as a solid waste. Many activists seized on the December 2008 rupture of a coal ash containment pond in Kingston, TN as justification for long overdue regulation of the material as hazardous and therefore subject to federal oversight. Meanwhile, industry argues that calling the waste hazardous even under limited circumstances, would create a stigma that would discourage reuse of the material, such as in concrete...Read More »
Two major petroleum industry groups filed lawsuits in federal court to challenge EPA's recently issued renewable fuel standard (RFS) arguing it is unlawful because of its retroactive volume mandates for 2009 and 2010, before the rule was issued, and because the volumes are unattainable. EPA argues the rule is instead forward looking because it will not determine companies' compliance with the regulations until late February 2011. The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) filed separate suits March 29 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seeking review of EPA's final RFS signed Feb. 3 and published March 26 in the Federal Register. EPA, which was required under the 2007 Energy Independence & Security Act to promulgate rules to implement the RFS in 2008 and establish volumes of renewable fuels for 2009, missed both deadlines and issued its RFS proposal in May 2009 and its final rule including volume mandates in March. NPRA argues that the combination of the 2009 and 2010 volume mandates for biomass-based diesel is unfair because it results in a standard of 1.15 billion gallons when Congress intended for only a 1 billion gallon mandate in 2012. According to its summary, "EPA has no authority to 'recapture' volume mandates under different start-date scenarios." NPRA would like the court to remand the rule to EPA to "correct these errors."...Read More »
Energy Investors Funds (EIF) and NTE Energy have formed a joint venture to develop and operate large-scale hybrid renewable energy facilities throughout the US. Under the hybrid approach, the venture called EIF NTE Hybrid Renewable Energy, will develop plants that combine solar, biomass, and other renewable technologies with natural gas turbine technology to produce low-cost renewable sources of electricity produced in a clean and sustainable manner. EIF said they plan to announce new projects in Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama in the near future. Lucas Missong, vice president of EIF, said: "We are excited to be involved in funding the development and deployment of this exciting technology. We believe it will revolutionize the generation of clean, renewable energy in the US."...Read More »
EPA stated that it plans to propose adding 16 chemicals listed by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) as carcinogens to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), returning to an approach not used since the Clinton administration. To add a chemical to TRI, EPA must demonstrate that a chemical meets certain listing criteria, for example, it is known to cause cancer or is released in large enough volumes to exceed certain reporting thresholds. According to EPA's proposed rule, the agency examined 27 new carcinogens that NTP has included in its Report on Carcinogens (RoC) since the agency last updated the TRI list in this way and decided, based on its criteria, to add 12 of them plus an additional four polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the TRI list. "These sixteen chemicals have been classified by the [NTP] in their [RoC] as 'reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,'" the notice says.
The proposed rule would add 16 chemicals to the TRI list, including vinyl flouride, furan, isoprene, 1-amino-2,4-dibromoanthraquinone, 2,2-bis(Bromomethyl)-1,3-propanediol,glycidol, methyleugenol, 1,6-dinitropyrene, 1,8-dinitropyrene, 6-nitrochrysene, 4-nitropyrene, o-nitroanisole, nitromethane, phenolphthalein, tetrafluoroethylene and tetranitromethane, according to the notice. EPA will take comment for 60 days once the notice is published...Read More »
Industry and environmentalists are promoting competing policies for dealing with electronics waste export while the EPA considers revising its rules to address the issue and while Congress considers action. Last week, The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) announced its new policy for electronics recycling, which supports exporting electronics for recycling only to facilities that meet verifiable environmental, health and safety standards. That announcement soon drew criticism from activist group Basel Action Network (BAN) which called ISRI's new policy document as "greenwash." BAN and others have complained that used electronics frequently ends up in countries that process it with little regard for environmental and human health. Conversely, industry argues that a complete export ban is unrealistic because it fails to account for the market demand for used electronics and commodity-grade material in many developing economies.
BAN says ISRI's new policy is a "head-in-sand position that developing countries can somehow manage toxic waste safely, when it is apparent that such countries lack the society resources, infrastructure and safety nets to mitigate the deadly impacts of toxic waste processing."...Read More »
Waste Management of Ohio is experimenting with a new service dubbed "WM Bagster," a waste management solution for homeowners and contractors with smaller-scale home improvement projects. Customers are given a high-capacity polypropylene bag with a flat-fee pickup for disposal for projects too small to warrant the renting of a full steel dumpster. The service is currently available in Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Cleveland and the Akron/Canton area...Read More »
A NewPage Corp. (Miami Township, OH) subsidiary is partnering with Nova Scotia Power Inc. to develop a 60-megawatt biomass co-generation facility in Nova Scotia, Canada. Nova Scotia Power, a subsidiary of Emera Inc. (Halifax, NS), will invest $200 million in the project that includes $93 million in construction costs for new facilities, $80 million to purchase assets from NewPage, and other related costs. Once operational in late 2012, the facility is expected to meet 3% of the energy needs of Nova Scotia equal to about 400 gigawatt hours per year. The project, which still requires regulatory approval from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, is expected to create about 150 new jobs in northern Nova Scotia, primarily in the forestry sector...Read More »
Covanta Holding (Fairfield, NJ) announced the retirement of two longtime directors Clayton Yeutter and Richard L. Huber when their terms expire next month. "Clayton and Dick will be greatly missed on our Board," stated Samuel Zell, Covanta's Chairman. "Their years of wisdom, insight and guidance have been of enormous value to Covanta, and our work has been enriched as a result." The waste-to-energy company has not yet announced their replacements. Clayton Yeutter is a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP, was Secretary of Agriculture under George Bush and before that U.S. Trade Representative. Huber served as Chairman and the Interim CEO of ACL where he continues as a director. He is currently CEO of the American direct investment group Norte-Sur Partners and previously CEO of Aetna, Inc...Read More »
Republic Services (Phoenix, AZ) announced that 20% of the trucks being added to its fleet in 2010 will be powered by natural gas. That translates into 226 vehicles to be distributed among the company's west coast operations and Boise, Idaho. Republic will build natural gas fueling stations in Gardena, Sun Valley, Chula Vista and Bellevue to support the vehicles. Clean Energy (Seal Beach, CA) will facilitate the design and construction of the facilities. The purchase, which will expand Republic's fleet of NGVs to 459 vehicles, "makes a statement about our commitment to protecting the environment," said Jeff Andrews, senior vice president, West Region for Republic. Of the 226 NGVs, 173 are compressed natural gas and the remaining 53 are liquefied natural gas. Vehicle chassis are built by Autocar and the engines by Cummins Westport...Read More »
Officials with the East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) and the Maysville-Mason County Landfill plan to inaugurate a new $2.5 million, 1.6 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) project on April 14. This brings a total of six such projects around the state for EKPC. The county expects to receive between $35,000 and $50,000 in annual revenue once the plant is operating at capacity. It is estimated that the plant will eliminate 3,187 tons of methane and 8,756 tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, which according to EPA estimates, is the equivalent of planting more than 15,600 trees, or removing emissions of more than 12,500 cars or offsetting the use of 359 rail cars of coal...Read More »
Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) and Georgia Power (Atlanta, GA) signed a 10-year contract under which Waste Management Renewable Energy LLC will provide Georgia Power with 100% of the energy generated at a 6.4 MW landfill-gas-to-energy facility located at its Superior Landfill and Recycling Center in Savannah, Georgia. The power company will also receive the associated renewable energy credits from the facility, which is one of the largest landfill-gas-to-energy operations in the Southeast, according to the EPA. Georgia Power selected Waste Management from a number of independent renewable generators that submitted bids through Georgia Power's "green" request for proposals issued in April 2009. The project represents WM's third beneficial-use project in Georgia, and 115th in North America...Read More »
Great Plains Oil & Exploration (Cincinnati, OH) and Accelergy Corp. (Houston, TX) formed a partnership to develop a biofuel blended from camelina oil and coal liquids that can be used a drop-in aviation fuel. The companies will use Accelergy's coal-biomass-to-liquid technology to gasify feedstocks and then convert the gasified product into fuel using a liquefaction process based on thermal and catalytic reactions. The process will use Great Plains' camelina oil blended with liquefied coal to create what the companies are calling "a fully synthetic jet fuel otherwise indistinguishable from standard petroleum fuel." The agreement represents the next step in commercializing the technology, which has been demonstrated in the laboratory and in small-scale pilot projects, the companies said...Read More »