As the EPA considers various controversial alternatives to regulating coal combustion waste (CCW) from power plants, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is suggesting that Congress add a new subtitle to federal waste law to give EPA enforcement authority over CCW without declaring it hazardous and to regulate its beneficial reuse. The Aug. 9 report, "Regulating Coal Combustion Waste Disposal: Issues For Congress," suggests that lawmakers consider amending the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) to create a new subtitle K "that would specifically address issues unique to the management" of CCW.
On June 21, EPA issued its proposal to establish first-time disposal rules for CCW that seeks public comment on either regulating the material as hazardous under RCRA subtitle C or as nonhazardous under RCRA subtitle D. CRS' suggestion could serve as a compromise avoiding the stringent hazardous waste regulation that industry opposes while providing EPA with the enforcement authority it would lack under less-strict solid waste rules. EPA has identified that lack of enforcement power as a major concern over issuing subtitle D rules. The approach could also resolve questions over the extent to which EPA should regulate beneficial reuses of coal waste in products such as cement. Currently, an estimated 40 percent of coal waste is recycled. Industry claims that its designation as hazardous, even under limited conditions, would decimate the reuse industry as fear of litigation would drive buyers away...Read More »
A settlement resolving litigation over EPA's controversial definition of solid waste (DSW) rule is expected soon. Lisa Feldt, deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, told the Environmental Council of the States' annual meeting on Aug. 30 that "We are in settlement talks and hope to have an announcement soon." The current rule which dates from the Bush administration provides exemptions for the management of certain wastes under Resource Conservation & Recovery Act requirements in an effort to promote recycling.
In its lawsuit, Sierra Club alleges that the exemptions go too far and will lead to dangerous "sham" recycling at facilities located disproportionately near low-income and minority communities. Sierra Club also filed a petition for reconsideration with EPA urging the agency to repeal the rule. Last year, EPA said it was considering more precisely defining how industry must "contain" recyclable materials and that it would require more elaborate notification by companies seeking exemptions. In January EPA released a draft methodology for analyzing the rule's impacts on low income and minority communities...Read More »
The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, which operates the state's major landfill, sued its former investment adviser and two Providence accounting firms for their alleged roles in corruption and mismanagement at the state waste management agency. According to reporting by The Providence Journal, one of the three lawsuits filed in Superior Court accuses Providence investment adviser Alfred Van Liew and his companies of negligence and breach of contract. The suit alleges Van Liew made improper investments with some of the $100 million in agency funds he helped manage and, that he failed to disclose that a RIRRC board member, John St. Sauveur, was also a paid director of his company.
The two accounting firms were accused of failing to report fraud, abuse and illegal activities. Officials at both firms denied wrongdoing. Edmund A. Restivo, a managing partner of one of the firms, Restivo Monacelli, defended his firm's audit by saying "We weren't hired to uncover fraud and illegal activities," rather to perform an audit. The agency is also suing Warwick, RI-based Ahlborg Construction Corp. for building an unnecessary tipping facility at the landfill in what it calls a "$20 million blunder."...Read More »
Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) said its first fiscal quarter net loss narrowed as revenue increased by 5.6% over last year's, helped by waste volume growth and higher recycling commodity prices. For the quarter, the net loss narrowed to $2.9 million, or $0.11) per share, from $2.8 million, or ($0.11) per share, in the same quarter last year. "Overall, operating results in the first quarter tracked well against our fiscal year plan, with our New York landfills yielding better than expected results, energy prices at Maine Energy lower year-over-year as expected, and solid waste pricing weaker than expected," said John W. Casella, chairman and CEO. The company expects fiscal 2011 revenues to be between $532.0 million and $542.0 million...Read More »
Waste Management is buying a majority interest in Garick LLC (Cleveland, OH), an organic lawn and products maker. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Garick operations will add more than 1 million tons of processing capacity as well as a portfolio of commercial and consumer organic products. The move expands Waste Management's organic recycling business and compliments other similar investments in Terrebon LLC and Harvest Power Inc. Over the last year or so, Waste Management through its Organic Growth Group has been making strategic investments in a number of renewable energy and diversion technologies as it seeks to derive more value from the waste stream while serving a broader array of its clients' needs...Read More »
Veolia signed a contract to sell gas from its Emerald Park Landfill in Muskego, WI to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) that will use it in lieu of more expensive natural gas at its sewage treatment plant in Jones Island. Under the 20-year agreement, the MMSD will pay $2.11 per dekatherm (MMBtu) or 48% of the price of natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a savings of 52% which could equate to between $25 million and $65 million over the life of the contract. The district has already awarded a $16.89 million contract to Meade Electric Co. of McCook, IL to build a 13.3 mile pipeline, now under construction, between the landfill and Jones Island. The district will install three 4.8-megawatt turbines that will burn the landfill gas in a building on Jones Island...Read More »
IESI Corp. (Austin, TX), a subsidiary of IESI-BFC Ltd. (Toronto, ON), bought a Central Texas recycling and secure document shredding facility in Pflugerville, TX. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The 20,000 square-foot plant currently processes about 150 tons of material per day and will allow IESI to expand its single-stream processing capabilities in the greater Austin, TX area. Last June, IESI won LEED Gold certification for single-stream MRF in McKinney TX that opened in October 2009...Read More »
Advanced Disposal Services (Jacksonville, FL) completed its first acquisition in South Carolina with its purchase of Southland Sanitation LLC and its parent company SSI Southland Holdings Inc. serving the greater Columbia, SC market. Although South Carolina represents new territory, Advanced Disposal has made numerous other acquisitions of late including some in the surrounding states of North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Only a day earlier the company bought Metro Hauling Services (East Point, GA) that serves commercial customers in the Atlanta, GA area. That "tuck-in" acquisition includes 300 frontload commercial customers, contracts and containers. Terms were not disclosed. In May Chairman and CEO Charlie Appleby told the Jacksonville Business Journal that it is his company's objective to double in size by 2015 and be the "most well-run, well-respected environmental services company in the Southeast."...Read More »
Alter NRG Corp. (Calgary, AB) said it signed an $11.4 million contract with Alliance Federated Energy (Milwaukee, WI) for exclusive use of its Westinghouse plasma gasification technology for converting waste to energy on all feedstocks in the states of Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana and hazardous waste for the continental U.S. Alliance Federated (AFE) is developing a 25 megawatt plasma gasification project in Milwaukee, WI called "Project Apollo," and is advancing several other projects in the region, and one internationally. Under the agreement, AFE will have site licenses payable to Alter NRG for each project and also have the right to sublicense the technology within their exclusive territory. For Alter NRG, the deal including engineering and operating services, represents a total value of about $30 million...Read More »
Choice Environmental Services Inc. (Fort Lauderdale, FL), a waste hauler serving central and south Florida, is getting a $15 million investment from Penfund, a Toronto, ON-based capital investor focused on middle market companies. "This investment will help us accelerate our growth plan and provide high quality, cost efficient service to even more customers in the future," said Glen Miller, CEO at Choice Environmental. Adam Breslin, a partner with Penfund, said "We have spent over 18 months studying the waste management industry and have met with dozens of companies. Choice is a perfect fit with the criteria we have developed for investing in the sector. The company's focused strategy, attractive business mix and strong entrepreneurial management team combine to make Choice an ideal investment for Penfund."...Read More »
Energy services company Ameresco Inc. (Framingham, MA), which develops and operates landfill gas-to-energy projects, has bought Quantum Engineering and Development Inc., which provides similar services in Oregon and Washington states. Quantum is being renamed Ameresco Quantum, Inc., and will lead Ameresco's efforts in the Northwest. "With the additional talent and resources, we will continue to focus on delivering outstanding results and innovative, energy-saving solutions for our customers," said George P. Sakellaris, president and CEO of Ameresco...Read More »