Weekly News Bulletin: Dec. 14-20, 2010


EPA Declares Victory for Enforcement in 2010 but Results are Mixed

The EPA released its Enforcement and Compliance Results for 2010 as an "all-time EPA record," saying that through its actions, polluters will pay more than $110 million in civil penalties and have committed to spend an estimated $12 billion on pollution controls that when completed, will reduce air, land, and water pollution by more than 1.4 billion pounds. It is a good deal higher than the $5.3 billion in injunctive relief and 580 million pounds of pollution reduced in last year in fiscal 2009. But it is only slightly higher than the $11.7 billion figure for 2008, the last full year of the Bush administration, which secured 3.9 billion pounds in pollution reduction. It suggests that the ratio of injunctive relief to pollution reduced actually declined in 2010 compared to 2008.

EPA says that in FY10 it concluded 200 civil judicial enforcement cases, close to the fiscal 2009 number of 201, "making it the second best year of the past five." And EPA also says it addressed civil violations at 575 facilities and sites through its 200 judicial case conclusions in fiscal 2010, "many more" than the 318 facilities addressed in the fiscal 2009 case conclusions. The drop comes after EPA's enforcement office won its highest ever funding level, $600 million, in 2010...Read More »



Detroit Waste-to-Energy Plant Reopens under New Owners

A Detroit waste-to-energy (WTE) plant that closed in October has reopened. The plant was closed after it was sold for $50 million by its previous owners Energy Investors Fund (EIF) and Covanta Energy Corp. to its new owner Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP), which has made "significant" improvements to the facility. The upgrades, which are still ongoing, address plant efficiency, odor controls, monitoring systems and safety standards. The DRP plant processes up to 3,300 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) per day into refuse-derived fuel. The fuel is burned to create 720,000 pounds of steam per hour, a portion of which is used to generate up to 68 megawatts of electricity that is sold to utility Detroit Edison.

DRP is a subsidiary of Detroit Renewable Energy, a consortium of renewable-energy companies formed in 2010 that also includes Detroit Thermal and Hamtramck Energy Services. It is part of the Greenwich, CT-based Atlas Holdings LLC family of companies. Thermal Ventures II, LP (Youngstown, OH) is also an investor in the project...Read More »



New York State Looks "Beyond Waste" in 20-Year Solid Waste Plan

New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released a new solid-waste management plan, its first in more than 20 years, that sets ambitious waste reduction goals for the next twenty years. The plan "Beyond Waste: A Sustainable Materials Management Strategy for New York" emphasizes a shift in focus away from "end of pipe" waste management to reducing waste from the start and introduces a common framework for communities, businesses and the public to minimize waste on the premise that it saves money, conserves energy, avoids pollution and protects our natural resources. The plan seeks a progressive reduction in the amount of waste destined for disposal from the current estimate of 4.1 pounds per person per day to the ultimate goal of 0.6 pounds per person per day by 2030...Read More »



Investment Firm Sees Waste-to-Energy as Important Trend in 2011

Investment bank Cascadia Capital has published its predictions for sustainable industries in 2011, one of which is that waste-to-energy, helped by rising oil prices, will be more widely adopted. Cascadia specifically mentioned InEnTec, which was recently honored as 2010 Top Innovator by the Wall Street Journal, that uses new technologies to transform industrial, household and even medical waste into electricity and fuel for transport and also mentioned Plasco Energy Group which also uses plasma waste gasification technology. They predict that oil will rise to over $100 per barrel, which will encourage investment in waste-to-energy and also lead to increased use of natural gas making it a more viable energy alternative. As a result, traditional energy companies such as BP, Chevron and Shell will acquire more renewable energy technology companies, including waste-to-energy. Among its other predictions is that Congress will abandon cap and trade in favor of policies that focus on gas, nuclear andrenewable energies...Read More »



Covanta to Sell Stake in Philippines Power Plant for $215 Million

Covanta Holding Corp. has agreed to sell its stake in an electric generation facility in the Philippines to Electricity Generating PLC for about $215 million in cash. Under the deal that is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, Covanta is selling its interest in Covanta Philippines Operating, Inc., which operates the facility, and its 27% ownership interest in the project company, Quezon Power, Inc. In June the company said it would sell its equity interests in four fossil fuel facilities in the Philippines, India and Bangladesh. The Quezon transaction is the first in that initiative and represents a major component of those assets...Read More »



Deffenbaugh Opens Health and Wellness Center for its Workers

Deffenbaugh Industries (Kansas City, KS) announced the opening of a health and wellness center at its headquarters to serve its more than 800 employees. The strategy is to reduce overall healthcare costs by encouraging preventative treatment, occupational health and wellness programs that also promise to reduce missed work days and increase productivity. "It is imperative to be able to offer our employees lower-cost health care options, tied with education, so they can make smarter consumer choices when they need health care," said Nancy Fox, Deffenbaugh's vice president of human resources. Deffenbaugh partnered with Cerner Corporation, a medical services company, and health insurer CBIZ, Inc. to develop the program.

Deffenbaugh, which touts itself as the largest privately owned refuse firm in the Midwest, operates from eight locations in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa, In 2007, the company was acquired by DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, a private equity investment affiliate of Credit Suisse...Read More »



Republic and Fortistar to Develop 6.4MW Landfill Gas-to-Energy in Richmond VA

Republic Services (Phoenix, AZ) and Fortistar (White Plains, NY) announced plans to build a 6.4 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy plant at Republic Services' Old Dominion Sanitary Landfill in Richmond, VA. The two companies signed a power purchase agreement with Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) which will buy the power under a long term agreement. The project dubbed Richmond Energy LLC is expected to be operational in late 2011 and will utilize four Caterpillar G3520 reciprocating engine generators, each rated for 1.6 megawatts, to meet the electricity needs of about 3,700 homes. This latest project represents over 20 similar projects that Fortistar operates on Republic Services landfills. Fortistar has ownership stakes in over 60 projects in North America with a collective generating capacity of 3,000 megawatts...Read More »



AbitibiBowater Names New CEO as it Emerges from Bankruptcy

Newsprint maker and recycler AbitibiBowater Inc. has appointed Richard Garneau, a former chief executive of Catalyst Paper Corp. as its new CEO. He will take over from David Paterson, who oversaw the company's restructuring and recent emergence from bankruptcy protection. The company sought that protection in April 2009 after suffering through a downturn in the newspaper industry and facing nearly $7 billion in debt. It subsequently sold assets, cut costs and lowered its debt burden to $850 million...Read More »



Waste-to-Energy Company Ze-gen Names New CEO

Waste gasification to energy developer Ze-gen, Inc. (Boston, MA) announced Walter Howard as Chief Executive Officer, replacing Bill Davis who founded Ze-gen in 2004. Howard is an industry veteran with over 30 years of global power project development experience and has held CEO, COO, CFO, and SVP executive positions with utility companies including General Electric, American Water, US Generating (an affiliate of PG&E and Bechtel), Noble Power Assets, J.Makowski Co. Inc (partly owned by Duke Power), and Poseidon resources. Bill Davis, who will remain on Ze-gen's Board of Directors and stay actively involved as an advisor to Ze-gen focused on special projects, said, "I am pleased to welcome Walt to Ze-gen. He brings extensive experience in business development, project finance, and operations within the electrical and water utility industries, and he will be instrumental to Ze-gen's ability to change the way the world views waste and its role in our energy future."...Read More »


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