Weekly News Bulletin: May 25-31, 2010


Port Authority to Spend $118 Million on Two Barge-to-Rail Transfer Stations

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is acquiring a rail yard known as the Greenville Yards in Jersey City from Conrail where it will build a $30 million barge-to-rail facility. Once the transfer station is operational in 2013, waste already packed into sealed containers from New York will arrive on barges where it will be transferred to trains bound for landfills in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. It is expected to remove the need for 180,000 trucks annually from trans-Hudson crossings and New Jersey highways, about half of the total coming from New York. The Port Authority is exploring another site, in either in New Jersey or Staten Island, to handle the other half, and hopes to open the second station at about the same time as Greenville Yards. The Board authorized $118.1 million for the overall project. Funding is to come from federal and state grants, and Port Authority funds...Read More »



EPA Rejects Biomass Exemption to Tailoring Rule

The EPA has rejected an industry push to exempt carbon dioxide (CO2) from biomass combustion from greenhouse (GHG) permit requirements, but is considering a new rule that could account for biomass' possible climate benefits under an approach that could employ lifecycle assessments. Industry groups including the American Forest & Paper Association and the National Association of Forest Owners, had urged EPA and the White House to exempt biomass CO2 emissions from its just-finalized "tailoring" rule requiring GHG limits in air permits. They argued that biomass used as fuel was essentially "carbon neutral" because plants absorb the same amount of CO2 while growing as is released when burned. The Clean Air Act generally requires facilities to obtain air permits if they emit more than 100 or 250 tons per year (TPY) of criteria pollutants like lead, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

The May 13 rule "tailored" the requirements of the act to accommodate GHG regulation but will only require GHG permits for facilities that emit more than 100,000 TPY of CO2. EPA rejected the exemption of biomass because industry did not show "administrative necessity" or the avoidance of "absurd results," legal doctrines used to justify the tailoring rule. The EPA also noted that the best available control technology (BACT) process for determining GHG permit limits gives the agency flexibility to consider the lifecycle impact of biomass fuel...Read More »



WM Opens New 6.4-MW Landfill-Gas-to-Energy Plant in GA

Waste Management has begun operating 6.4 megawatt landfill-gas-to-energy facility at its Superior Landfill in Savannah, GA, the largest of its kind in the Southeast, according to US EPA data. Georgia Power and Waste Management Renewable Energy LLC entered into a 10-year deal for the electricity, which will be enough to power about 3,400 homes in the surrounding area...Read More »



Hennepin County Battling Xcel Energy for Renewable Energy Credits

Hennepin County, home to Minneapolis, MN and a large waste-to-energy plant, is fighting with Xcel Energy, the large utility that buys power produced by the plant, over who is entitled to the renewable energy credits. Those credits are expected to rise in value as more governments require utilities to derive ever more of their energy from renewable sources in future years. Absent various proposed federal mandates, the state of Minnesota itself requires that by the end of this year, 15 percent of a utility's energy must be from renewable sources including solar, biomass or wind. That mandate grows to 25 percent by 2016 and 30 percent by 2020. Both the county and Xcel Energy will have to plead their case before the state public utilities commission which will rule on the matter. Jim Alders, Xcel's director of regulatory administration said of the case, "We just believe that if we're buying renewable energy, it's appropriate to count that toward the renewable energy standards the state has established."...Read More »



EQ - The Environmental Quality Co. Buys Envirite

EQ - The Environmental Quality Co. (Wayne, MI) said it acquired Envirite, a waste services company based in Canton, OH that specializes in the treatment and recycling of metal bearing liquids and solids. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The company has three facilities, two in Pennsylvania and one in Illinois. "Envirite's waste treatment and service capabilities integrated into EQ's extensive facilities and services network will allow us to provide treatment and service capability closer to our customers in three strategic industrial markets," said EQ CEO David Lusk. In 2008, EQ began expanding its operations with a $100 million investment from Kinderhook Industries, a New York-based private equity firm. With Envirite's 100 employees, EQ now employs about 800 at 24 locations in 19 states...Read More »



Hawaiian Waste Due for Mainland Piling Up; Company Awaits USDA Approval

A plan to ship Hawaiian waste stateside is still on hold. According to various accounts, more than 20,000 tons of waste has now accumulated at Hawaiian Waste Systems' (HWS) facility in Oahu awaiting shipment across the Pacific to a landfill in Washington State as federal regulators wrangle over paperwork. HWS said that approval of an amendment to its federal permit has taken much longer than expected. The original plan involved transporting about 100,000 tons of waste per year in shrink-wrapped bales in sealed containers to the Roosevelt landfill in Washington State via the Columbia River. However, the company realized that it would be more efficient to instead unload the wastes onto trains at Lower Columbia ports - Longview, Rainier or Vancouver which would save four to five days shipping time. Since HWS was the low bidder at $99.89 a ton, about half what other bidders would have charged, it likely needs whatever efficiencies can be squeezed out of the process.

However, switching transportation plans requires approval from the Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APIS), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Months of empty promises of approval from the USDA has led HWS president Mike Chutz to declare "I don't believe anything that the USDA says until they do it, and I don't even believe it after they do it. We have been frustrated from performing this contract which we entered into in good faith, and we've been prepared to perform throughout the course of this," he said...Read More »



Chevron Breaks Ground on 2 MW Landfill Gas Cogen Project

Chevron Energy Solutions, a unit of Chevron Corp., and the Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) have begun constructing a 1.9 MW landfill gas cogeneration project in Albany, GA. Under a 20-year contract, Chevron Energy will pipe landfill gas from the nearby Fleming/Gaissert Road to the MCLB where it will be converted into electricity that is expected to meet 22 percent of their needs. In turn, the MCLB is expected to pay an average fee of $187,000 per year. The landfill receives about 100,000 tons of waste per year...Read More »



Montana Senators Introduce Bill to Clarify Definition of Biomass

U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both of Montana, have introduced legislation to establish a broad, single definition for renewable biomass that is consistent with the definition established in the 2008 Farm Bill. The senators say their single working definition will reduce confusion among federal agencies and will help restore health to America's forests while building a critical plank of America's renewable energy economy. "Years of debate over the definition of renewable biomass has hurt our ability to create jobs keeping our forests healthy and our forest communities strong," Tester said. The definition will be used for purposes of the Renewable Fuel Standard, a future Renewable Electricity Standard, and other statutes...Read More »



Plastics Recycler to Build New Plant in Frankfort KY

Boca Raton, FL-based Mountain Valley Recycling Corporation, which recycles plastic into reusable resins, plans to build a new plant in Frankfort, KY. The company also boasts of having won US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of its resins for contact with food. Once operational, the plant will process 100 million pounds of resin annually and employ about 360 people with an annual payroll of about $11.4 million. The company's president Ron Whaley said that "on an annual basis, for each 50 million pounds of resin we process, we save 275,000 barrels of oil."...Read More »


Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin