Weekly News Bulletin: Aug. 3-9, 2010


California's E-Waste Program Plagued by Fraud and Smuggling

California's groundbreaking electronics recycling (e-waste) program is plagued by fraud and smuggling from out of state. A McClatchy Newspapers investigation found that recyclers and collectors may have submitted $30 million worth of ineligible claims that were paid out by the state, in addition to $23 million in rejected claims deemed to be fraudulent to begin with. Unknown is how many ineligible claims have escaped notice. Unlike other states that have adopted e-waste programs, California's program, started in 2005, uses fees paid by consumers upon the purchase of new consumer electronics which it pays to recyclers based on the volume of material they accept. Other states make the manufacturers responsible for collecting and recycling electronics in accordance to their sales. So far some 840 million pounds of monitors and TVs, about 17 million units, have been recycled in California, far more than in any other state. Overseeing the flow are two agencies: CalRecycle, which scrutinizes claims and pays recyclers, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control, which investigates fraud and environmental violations. Investigators found that with over 500 collectors funneling e-waste to recyclers, it has been difficult to verify all the accompanying documentation, which in some cases, includes the names of dead people, celebrities, and even dead celebrities...Read More »



House Bill Would Give EPA Enforcement Authority over Coal Ash Under Subtitle D

House lawmakers are expected to introduce a bill that would give EPA first-time authority to enforce solid waste rules for coal combustion residues (CCR) in an effort to avoid more stringent regulation as hazardous waste, which industry argues would result in far less recycling, higher power costs and lost jobs from recycling and plant closures. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), the chairman of the House small business committee's rural development panel, held a July 22 hearing on the issue that he and other lawmakers are developing legislation to give EPA authority to enforce CCR rules under subtitle D of the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA). Since the massive 2008 Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash spill, EPA has been under pressure to regulate coal ash but has had to decide whether to regulate it as a subtitle D or as a "special waste" under more-stringent subtitle C rules for hazardous waste, the latter would give the agency direct control over its disposal. Industry has argued that a hazardous waste designation, even under limited conditions, would create a stigma that would discourage companies from recycling the material. However, EPA and environmentalists say there is no proof of such a stigma and argue hazardous waste rules could actually motivate utilities to increase recycling to avoid costly new disposal requirements...Read More »



Lawmakers Send Letter Opposing EPA Plan on Coal Ash Regulation

A bipartisan group of 30 congressional members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce co-signed a letter written by Rep Frederick "Rick" Boucher (D-VA) sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson opposing EPA's proposed ruling that could regulate coal ash as a hazardous material. "EPA regulation of coal ash as a hazardous waste could have the effect of destroying jobs by preventing the recycling of coal ash into useful construction products like cement and wall board," said the letter. It goes on to argue that regulating coal ash as hazardous would add significant costs to consumer's energy bills, and lead to a 14% drop in US generating capacity as some coal fired electricity generating units would have to close amid prohibitively higher costs. He argues that hazardous regulation of coal ash would actually raise rather than lower safety concerns since coal ash disposal and temporary storage would have to increase in the absence of recycling...Read More »



Waste Management Posts Encouraging Second Quarter Results

Waste Management (Houston, TX) posted second quarter earnings that were flat with last year's but would have increased in the absence of one-time charges taken in the quarter, especially since revenue for the quarter rose by 7% over last year's. Reported net income fell slightly to $246 million, or $0.51 per share, from $247 million, or $0.50 per share, a year earlier. Per share earnings rose with fewer shares outstanding in the most recent quarter, which included a charge of 2 cents per share related to restructuring and withdrawal from a multi-employer pension plan and a 1 cent per share charge for accounting of lower Treasury rates. Excluding these items, net income would have been $261 million, or $0.54 per share. Revenue increased to $3.16 billion from $2.95 billion for the same period last year. Average recycling commodity prices increased 78% from last year. Even more significant, landfill volumes were 23.8 million tons, nearly flat with last year when volumes had been steadily declining. Accordingly, the company reiterated its earnings forecast for the year of $2.09 to $2.13 per share...Read More »



Republic Services Posts 2Q Profit Down on Year-Ago Gain

Republic Services (Phoenix, AZ) reported second quarter profits that were down 29% but that would have been up by 10% without last year's gain from the merger with Allied Waste. Net income fell to $159.7 million, or $0.42 per share, from $225.9 million, or $0.59 per share, a year earlier. Excluding items like the year-ago gain, earnings rose to $0.43 from $0.39. Revenue was roughly flat at $2.07 billion. Republic said core prices climbed 1.6%, while volume slid 3.3%, a more modest decline than in 2009 when it fell 9.5% for the year. Commodity prices and fuel charges increased 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively. "I am very pleased with the Company's progress through the first half of 2010," said Chairman and CEO James E. O'Connor. "We have successfully integrated two large companies and have secured substantial synergy savings."...Read More »



Advanced Disposal Buys Charlotte NC-Based Construction Waste Services

Continuing its northward expansion, Advanced Disposal Services (Jacksonville, FL) said it acquired the assets of Construction Waste Services, LLC which serves commercial customers in the greater Charlotte, NC area. The deal includes 11 trucks and 522 roll-off containers and a large majority of Construction Waste's employees who will join the Advanced team. "We're pleased to add to our commercial customer base in the Charlotte market through this acquisition, which affirms our strategy to grow our Carolinas operation," said Advanced Disposal's Mid-South Area President Gerald Greene...Read More »



Stericycle's 2Q Earnings Up by 23% on Higher Revenue

Medical waste services provider Stericycle, Inc. (Lake Forest, IL) posted higher second quarter earnings on higher revenues, helped by recent acquisitions and price increases. Net income rose to $53.09 million or $0.61 per share from $43.90 million or $0.51 per share last year. Revenues grew 20.2% to $347.73 million from $289.27 million in the comparable quarter last year. Acquisitions contributed about $29.2 million to the growth in revenues...Read More »



New 3.2MW Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project in Perry GA

The Houston County Landfill in Perry, Georgia is close to completing a 3.2 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy project in partnership with Flint Energies which has invested $7 million in the project. Two 42,000-pound Caterpillar generators will convert methane gas from the 2,600 acre 600 ton per day landfill into enough electricity to power 800 to 1,000 homes. The project is expected to be completed and online by December 2010...Read More »



Plasco Secures $110 million Equity Placement Led by Ares Management

Plasco Energy Group said it raised $110 million in new capital to drive further development of its waste-to-energy conversion technology. Company CEO Rod Bryden, said Ares Management LLC of Los Angeles is leading the new funding round with $100 million. Plasco currently owns and operates a 100 ton-per-day capacity plant in Ottawa. A joint venture between the company and Hera Holdings owns and operates a five ton-per-day research and development facility in Castellgali, Spain. The company also has a contract in Red Deer, Alberta for a 300 tonne-per-day Plasco facility to be completed in 2012...Read More »



EnergySolutions Expects 2Q Loss on $35 Million Write-down

EnergySolutions (Salt Lake City, UT) said it expects to post a second quarter loss of 32 cents to 34 cents a share that includes a $35 million non-cash charge for the write-down of goodwill. Excluding the charge, the nuclear services company expects to earn between 6 and 8 cents per share. Management expects second quarter revenues of $385 million to $405 million. The company will officially report second quarter earnings before the market opens on Thursday, August 5 and then host a conference call at 10 am (ET) to discuss those results...Read More »



Novo Energies Acquires Exclusive Rights to Waste-to-Energy Technology

Advanced biofuels company Novo Energies said it acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to a proprietary gasification technology, developed by Colorado-based Precision Pipe and Vessel, that converts plastic and tires to energy. Under this partnership, Novo will enhance and augment Precision's existing operating pilot plant in Colorado by adding its own Multi Stage Hybrid Gasification System technology that converts tires and plastics into a clean syngas without combustion or other reagents and pollutants. Initially, Novo will use the syngas as a fuel for engines and turbines to produce electricity and heat in a cogeneration facility; syngas may also be converted into transportation fuel or other fuel additives through the use of a standard catalyst based process such as Fischer-Tropsch...Read More »



Perma-Fix to Report Second Quarter Results on Aug. 5

Perma-Fix Environmental Services (Atlanta, GA) said it will host a conference call to discuss second quarter earnings on Thursday, August 5 at 9 am (ET)...Read More »


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