Weekly News Bulletin: Jun. 15-21, 2010


Industry Troubled by EPA's Dual Regulatory Scheme for Coal Waste

Industry continues to be troubled by the EPA's lack of clarity on how it proposes to regulate the beneficial reuse of coal ash in its first-time proposed rule regulating the waste's disposal. On the one hand, the agency says that a strict hazardous designation for coal combustion residues (CCR) would not stigmatize its beneficial reuse, while on the other, it is raising questions about the safety of some beneficial reuses. At the same time, EPA suspended its long-time involvement in the Coal Combustion Products Partnership (C2P2), a voluntary partnership with industry to promote coal waste reuse, during the rulemaking.

In its proposed rule, EPA seeks comment on "potential refinements for certain beneficial uses" as part of its dual RCRA proposal that formally exempts beneficial use from regulation, while also seeking comment on regulating CCR under RCRA subtitle C as well as under non-hazardous subtitle D. In the proposal, EPA asks for comment on limiting some CCR reuse that could pose health or environmental risks, such as unencapsulated uses of CCR applied to land, such as in road embankments and agricultural applications. EPA's proposal points to "a significant increase in the use of CCR" since 2000, as ingredients in specific products, "such as resin-bound products or mineral filler in asphalt." However, it does note that using OCR as filler for cement can hold many greenhouse gas benefits...Read More »



Advanced Disposal Buys another Central Florida Hauler

Advanced Disposal Services (Jacksonville, FL) said it completed an acquisition of certain assets of Accurate Waste Systems, Inc., its second deal in Polk County, FL in three months, further expanding the company's central Florida footprint. Accurate Waste Systems provides solid waste collection services to businesses in Polk County. The deal includes commercial frontload and roll-off customer contracts and containers. Operational staff will join the team created by Advanced Disposal's purchase in March of Trash Taxi also in that market. Dave Lavender, Advanced Disposal's Florida area president, said the deal will "better position the company to respond quickly and effectively as the economy rebounds."...Read More »



Industry Critical of EPA Boiler Rule that Hurts Biomass Energy

The Biomass Power Association (BPA), among others in the biomass industry, are criticizing EPA's proposed strict air toxics standard for boilers, saying the regulation will impose costly controls on biomass that will deter investment in renewable energy projects. "This rule is unfortunate and inconsistent with the administration's stated goal of supporting biomass," said Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of BPA in a June 8 teleconference. On April 30th, the EPA proposed a maximum achievable control technology (MACT) that would limit air toxics emissions from boilers, part of a broader package proposed the same day that also includes an air toxics rule for incinerators, and a proposal to redefine what qualifies as waste combusted in incinerators. Cleaves said the proposal would have substantial adverse economic impacts on the forest products industry, which stands to lose $7 billion in lost revenues as a result of the rule. He said it contradicts efforts by the Commerce Department to promote the sale of U.S. biomass power technologies in global markets when those technologies would be rendered economically unfeasible in the domestic market if the EPA proposal is finalized...Read More »



Ohio Waste Authority Files Suit to End Clean Energy Contract

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) is suing the builder of its multimillion-dollar waste-to-fuel plant for breach of contract. In a suit filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, SWACO asks to be released from its obligations under a contract with FirmGreen Inc. (Newport Beach, CA). SWACO says that the company recently disclosed that it is likely to be at least a year behind schedule opening the second phase of a plant to convert landfill gas into compressed natural gas for cars and utility pipelines. The first phase (pilot project) of the $18 million green energy center is processing enough gas to fuel about 12 SWACO vehicles. In the second phase, FirmGreen would buy converted fuel from the agency as well. That was expected to net SWACO more than $1 million a year from selling the raw methane.

"It is obvious that phase two is significantly behind schedule," SWACO Executive Director Ron Mills said in a statement. "We believe it is in the best interests of SWACO and the taxpayers to end this relationship with FirmGreen."...Read More »



TVA to Pay $11.5 Million Civil Penalty for Kingston Ash Spill

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) will pay civil penalties totaling $11.5 million for the December 2008 coal ash spill at the utility's Kingston plant. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) officials announced the penalty which it had assessed for violations of the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act and the Tennessee Solid Waste Disposal Act. The spill sent 5.4 million cubic yards of ash into the river and onto nearby private property about 40 miles west of Knoxville. TDEC Commissioner Jim Fyke called it an "unprecedented event." TVA said the utility will obey the order and remains "fully committed to a complete cleanup of the Kingston ash spill."...Read More »



EPA Analysis Says Senate Climate Bill Would Cost Households Less Than 40 Cents a Day

An EPA analysis of the Senate climate and energy bill being promoted by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), called the American Power Act, estimates it would cost American households 22 to 40 cents a day, less than the price of a first-class postage stamp. The bill aims to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020 and by more than 80 percent by 2050. It would for the first time, set a price on carbon emissions produced by coal-fired power plants and other large polluters. The EPA said carbon prices would range from about to $16 to $17 per metric ton in 2013 to about $23 or $24 per ton by 2020. Kerry and Lieberman hailed the 74-page analysis arguing that in light of the recent oil spill in the gulf, that the climate bill's cost is far outweighed by its benefits. The Senate bill, which follows a House bill approved last year, includes new protections for offshore drilling as well as incentives for nuclear power and renewable energy such as wind, solar and biomass...Read More »



Recycled Energy Development Buys 30-MW California Biomass Power Plant

Recycled Energy Development (RED), a Chicago-based waste energy recovery project developer, said it acquired the 30-megawatt Honey Lake biomass power plant in Wendel, CA. The Honey Lake plant, built in 1989, utilizes nearby geothermal energy to generate electricity from a biomass feedstock of forest thinnings, logging residue, mill wastes and other waste wood. It sells its electricity under a long-term contract to Pacific Gas & Electric. The company said it plans to make significant capital improvements and employ its expertise to improve plant efficiency and output. Among those enhancements would be a reduction of California CO2 emissions by 44,000 metric tons per year. Private equity firm Denham Capital Management assisted in the deal through its strategic partnership with the company to develop and manage a portfolio of clean energy projects...Read More »



EPA Support of E-Waste Standard May Set Off Competing Programs

The US EPA said it now backs the e-Stewards certification for recycling electronic waste (e-waste) in addition to supporting its own Responsible Recyclers (R2) program. The action moves the debate between the two competing standards to the recycling marketplace and pits recyclers against activists. E-stewards is a standard developed by activist group Basel Action Network (BAN), which has long been critical of the export of e-waste to foreign countries where it is often mishandled in manner that is dangerous to human health and the environment.

"EPA supports and will continue to push for further safe and protective recycling efforts and encourage improvement in best management practices for recyclers. There are existing recycling certification programs, such as R2 and e-Stewards that EPA believes advance environmentally safe practices and includes standards for use in third-party certification of such efforts," according to the EPA. Last month, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson spoke at an INTERPOL e-waste meeting and called for new regulations and legislation to limit exports of e-waste and urged work toward ratifying the Basel Convention on hazardous waste trade. Activists are concerned however, that she stopped short of advocating a total ban on exports...Read More »



IESI Wins LEED Gold Certification for Single-Stream MRF in McKinney Texas

IESI Corp., a division of IESI-BFC Ltd., announced that the US Green Building Council awarded Gold Certification to its McKinney, Texas single-stream material recovery facility (MRF). The Green Building Council administers the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The new 28,000 square-foot McKinney MRF contains numerous sustainable features including certified wood, recycled steel, low-flow water fixtures, and energy efficient machinery. As single-stream facility, it can accept comingled materials including paper, glass, metals, cardboard and plastics...Read More »



Republic Services to Announce Second Quarter Earnings on July 29

Republic Services said it will announce second quarter earnings during a conference call with investors on Thursday, July 29, at 5 p.m. (Eastern Time)...Read More »


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