Weekly News Bulletin: May 11-17, 2010


EPA Leaning towards Hazardous Coal Ash Rules

The EPA, after announcing that it plans to regulate coal ash, appears to be leaning toward designating it a hazardous waste, subject to subtitle C regulations under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA). In a May 4 press call, EPA noted that under a hazardous subtitle C approach, wet storage in surface impoundments would be phased out and closed, so that all coal ash would have to be stored in dry landfills after five years. Under a subtitle D approach, surface impoundments could be retrofitted to continue operations or else they would have to close within five years.

However, EPA also noted that it lacked federal enforcement authority for coal ash under the latter subtitle D (non-hazardous) approach. The agency also seems to be introducing a cost-benefit argument that favors a hazardous classification by estimating environmental benefits of between $87 billion and $102 billion over 50 years, compared to benefits under a D approach of between $35 billion and $42 billion. EPA estimates the costs to industry over the same time period to be $20.3 billion under subtitle C and $8.1 billion under subtitle D. Meanwhile, industry argues any hazardous designation would add enormous costs without commensurate environmental benefit and eliminate the beneficial reuse of coal ash in cement and other products...Read More »



WM Buys MedServe Assets Divested from Stericycle

A subsidiary of Waste Management bought certain assets of MedServe, Inc. from Stericycle. Those assets include MedServe's Newton, KS autoclave treatment facility and its transfer stations in Kansas City and Booneville, MO, Oklahoma City, and Omaha, NE. The purchase price was not disclosed. Stericycle bought MedServe in May of last year for $182.5 million but was required to shed assets in certain markets to satisfy antitrust regulators' concerns. Even prior to its merger Stericycle was the nation's leading infectious waste management company. MedServe had been the second largest. Waste Management, meanwhile has been steadily growing its way back into the infectious waste market, in part as part of its larger strategy to offer a broader portfolio of services to its clients...Read More »



AF&PA Says Clean Air Regulations Will Cost Jobs

Industry groups including the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) worry that EPA's recently announced new rule for boilers using fossil fuels and biomass will force plant closures and cost jobs at a time of high unemployment. "We support efforts to address serious health threats from air emissions," said Donna Harman, president and CEO of the American AF&PA. "But we also believe that regulations can be crafted in a more balanced way that sustains both the environment and good jobs." The EPA's new Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Boiler MACT) rule includes emission limits for industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers. The AF&PA said that meeting the new limits would require installation of up to five different air pollution control devices that will conflict with other existing control requirements and could impose tens of billions of dollars in unnecessary capital costs at thousands of facilities across the country...Read More »



EPA Withdraws Controversial GHG Registry Rule

The EPA has withdrawn a direct final rule making minor changes to its greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting rule amid industry concerns that the agency had acted without clarifying separate reporting of biomass GHGs among other things. In an April 30 Federal Register notice, EPA said it is withdrawing its March 16 direct final rule making "minor harmonizing changes" to the GHG reporting rule. The Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG), which represents electric generators, filed Dec. 29 petitions with EPA and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging the reporting rule. Among its concerns was that the registry could be construed to require facilities to report biogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which come from burning biomass, separately from the facility's other CO2 emissions...Read More »



Clean Harbors' First Quarter Profits Double

Clean Harbors announced that first quarter profits more than doubled, aided by an acquisition but offset slightly by poor winter weather. The hazardous waste management services company also said it was responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but said "the full scope of our involvement in the cleanup efforts has yet to be determined and will evolve over time." Net income rose to $10.4 million, or $0.40 per share, up from nearly $5 million, or $0.21 per share, last year. Revenue rose 72 percent to $354.9 million from $206.3 million in the prior-year period. The revenue jump was mainly due to the company's acquisition last year of Canadian oil services firm Eveready Inc. The company said it still expects revenue of $1.40 billion to $1.45 billion for the year...Read More »



Clean Harbors Buys Haz-Waste Transporter Sturgeon & Son

Clean Harbors said it acquired Sturgeon & Son Transportation Inc. for $12.5 million in cash and 16,000 shares of Clean Harbors' common stock. Bakersfield, CA-based Sturgeon & Son specializes in hazardous waste removal and refinery services for which it generated about $12.4 million in revenue during 2009. "This acquisition enhances our growing West Coast presence," said McKim. "Sturgeon & Son Transportation is a family owned and operated business with an outstanding reputation among its regional customer base. We currently expect the acquisition to be accretive to earnings in 2010."...Read More »



Industry Concerned about New York State E-Waste Bill

The New York State Senate has just cleared an electronics waste (e-waste) bill that appears to have industry support, in contrast to their vehement opposition to a New York City e-waste law that is being challenged in US Federal Court. Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) spokesperson Jen Bemisderfer said that the industry prefers a state approach over a city approach but that the "legislation needs to be reasonable and share responsibility among various stakeholders." Wording in the state bill is very similar to requirements in most e-waste laws around the country, that collections be "convenient." For example, the state measure would make producers responsible for collecting e-waste "free of cost and in a manner convenient to consumers."...Read More »



Caraustar Names New CEO

Caraustar Industries (Austell, GA) has appointed Michael C. Patton, 48 as its new CEO, effective May 20. Patton joined Caraustar after more than ten years with the packaging firm Greif in senior leadership roles. Upon his resignation, Patton held the title of senior VP, Global Sourcing and Supply Chain and Divisional President, Industrial Packaging North America for Caraustar Industries...Read More »



EnergySolutions' First Quarter Boost from International Sales

EnergySolutions said that strong performance in its international segment helped push first quarter revenues up to $485.9 million from $437.1 million last year. However, a non-cash amortization charge hurt net income which fell to $5.8 million, or $0.07 per share, from $8.1 million, or $0.09 per share last year. Without the unusual expense, earnings have been $10.7 million, or $0.12 per share. Federal-service segment revenue continued to improve helped by subcontracting work based on stimulus spending...Read More »



WM Developing LFGTE Project in Ottawa

Waste Management said it received local approval to move forward on a landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) project in Ottawa, Ontario that will generate 6.4 megawatts of electricity. The press release did not say when operations at its Carp Road landfill would begin. The LFGTE project demonstrates "what can be accomplished when governments and individuals work together on a shared vision for a better future," said Ontario Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Brad Duguid...Read More »



Clean Power Concepts Buys Bio Energy Producer

Clean Power Concepts Inc. said it acquired a 94.8% controlling interest in bio energy products manufacturer General Bio Energy Inc. in order to expand its operations in the environmentally friendly 'green energy' sector. The CEO of Clean Power and GBE, Michael Shenher, said that the acquisition is a tremendous step forward in their goal of becoming a leading bio-energy products supplier. "Our plans are to further invest in the rapid expansion of this energy source and in the significant manufacturing opportunities that are now ready to be exploited: biomass gasification, plastics and other commercial products." GBE's biodiesel fuel processor can produce up to 20 million liters of biofuel and biofuel additives and the crushing system can produce nearly 32.8 thousand metric tons of meal and protein related products for agricultural and aquaculture feedstock annually...Read More »



Perma-Fix Sales Up 18% in First Quarter

Perma-Fix Environmental Services (Atlanta, GA) said first quarter revenues increased by 17.5 percent to $26 million, from $22 million a year ago, and that net income rose to $638,000 from $548,000 last year. Dr. Louis F. Centofanti, Chairman and CEO, stated, "Perma-Fix has established a unique position within the nuclear waste treatment and nuclear services market due to our technologies, our track record and our permits." He said they produced those results even while their radioactive organic waste treatment plant was shut down for upgrades. He said, "Longer-term, we continue to develop new treatment technologies for higher activity waste and remain focused on growing our nuclear services business."...Read More »


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