Weekly News Bulletin: Feb. 1-7, 2011


EPA Sends Boiler MACT to White House, In Wake of Court Deadline

The US EPA has sent a set of air toxics rules to the White House for review, including a revised version of its controversial rule setting maximum achievable control technology (MACT) requirements for industrial boilers, on the same day a US District court rejected EPA's request to delay the rule until next year and ordered the agency to publish the rules by Feb. 21. At the same time, the agency said it will immediately reconsider and take comment on significant changes made to the rules since they were proposed. However, some lawmakers say the reconsideration shows the shortcomings of the agency's rulemaking process, nicknamed a "rule-by-consent-decree approach" by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). "With all due respect, this makes a mockery of the regulatory process: in essence, EPA will finalize a rule that it doesn't believe in," he said in a Jan. 21 statement. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, is also offering to push legislation that would delay the boiler MACT deadline...Read More »



EPA Says Municipal Solid Waste Generation Declined in 2009

The latest figures from the US EPA indicate that US waste generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2009 declined by 3.2 percent to 243 million tons from 251 million tons in 2008, representing the second straight year of decline. EPA's figure is in line with statistics gathered independently by Waste Business Journal (WBJ) through direct survey of all waste processing and disposal operations across the US and Canada. According to WBJ, residential volumes of MSW declined by 3 percent from 2008 to 2009 but commercial wastes, accounting for 22 percent of the total waste stream entering municipal facilities, declined by nearly 18 percent. Construction and demolition waste alone was down by close to 20 percent. WBJ statistics differ from those published by the EPA primarily because WBJ examines the entire waste stream, not just that which is attributable to individual citizens. More information is available in WBJ's Waste Market Overview and Outlook Report, updated for 2010...Read More »



Fulcrum BioEnergy Gets $75 Million to Complete BioFuels Plant

Waste-to-fuel company Fulcrum BioEnergy (Pleasanton, CA) said it closed a $75 million Series C financing, a portion of which will be used to complete its Sierra BioFuels Plant near Reno, NV. That project is designed to convert municipal solid waste into ethanol, propanol and renewable electricity. It will ultimately produce 10.5 million gallons of ethanol annually and 16 megawatts of renewable electricity. Construction of the $120 million plant is expected to begin this summer and be complete by 2012...Read More »



Clean Harbors to Buy Badger Daylighting for $222 Million

Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) is buying Badger Daylighting (Calgary, AB) for about CAN$222 million in cash to expand its energy and industrial services business. Badger has 82 operating centers throughout Canada and the US and operates a fleet of 410 hydrovac units, which use water and vacuum technology to blast through dirt and rocks to dig trenches. Clean Harbors, which will assume about CAN$25 million of Badger's debt, expects the deal to immediately add to earnings...Read More »



Waste Management Elevates Customer Service; Hires New Chief

Waste Management (Houston, TX) announced hiring a new head of customer service and elevating that position to its leadership team. The company said it hopes to enhance its customer service by integrating solutions into its everyday culture and to develop strategies to retain customers by serving them better and to develop metrics to gauge its performance in doing so. The company said it hired Grace Cowan, a customer service veteran of Conseco and Banker's Life Insurance, who will serve as a senior vice president on the leadership team. Other waste management companies, too, have in recent years increased focus on customer retention particularly in light of competition from smaller sometimes more nimble competitors and amid pricing initiatives employed to drive top line growth...Read More »



GE, Conoco, NRG Invest $300 Million in Venture to Support Clean Energy

General Electric Co., ConocoPhillips and NRG Energy Inc. have committed $300 million in capital to a joint venture company, called Energy Technology Ventures, which will invest in emerging energy technology companies. Collaborating with other major energy companies "enables us to pool our financial resources and technological expertise -- along with our extensive relationships -- to provide more than money to emerging energy technology companies," Kevin Skillern, managing director and leader of venture capital at GE Energy Financial Services, said in the statement. The joint venture will focus on companies that are developing technology for renewable energy, smart grid, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, emission controls, water and biofuels...Read More »



Casella Waste Raises $200 Million on Notes Offering to Retire Old Debt

Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) sold $200 million of senior subordinated notes in the 144a private placement market. The bonds, which carry a coupon rate of 7.75% and will mature on Feb. 15, 2019, will be used to retire its 9.75% senior subordinated notes due 2013. The tender offer, described in the offer to purchase and consent solicitation statement dated January 24, will expire on February 22, unless extended by the company. The joint book-running managers for the sale were Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and Credit Agricole.

Recently the company has been shoring up its financial position. Last week the company announced its intention to sell some of its noncore and "non-integrated recycling assets" for $130.4 million to a new company formed Pegasus Capital and use the proceeds to retire debt. "With this important transaction, we will have made substantial progress towards our objective to deliver the balance sheet," CEO John W. Casella said...Read More »



Ameresco, Republic Services to Develop LFGTE Plant in Livermore, CA

Ameresco Inc. (Framingham, MA) and Republic Services (Phoenix, AZ) announced plans to build and operate a 4.3 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) plant at Republic's Vasco Road Landfill in Livermore, CA. It hopes to begin constructing the $13 million plant in late 2012. Silicon Valley Power has signed a 20-year purchase agreement for the power which it will provide to homes in the Santa Clara and San Francisco Bay areas. "The Vasco Road project is Republic's seventh landfill gas to energy venture in California, representing nearly 41 MW of electricity," said Brian Bales, executive vice president business development for Republic. "...it will help the state meet its commitment to increase its renewable energy portfolio standard."...Read More »



Veolia ES Solid Waste Buys Milo Sanitation in Georgia

Veolia ES Solid Waste (Milwaukee, WI) has bought a small hauler -- Milo Sanitation of Valdosta, GA -- which brings with it 4,000 residential and 60 commercial accounts. The move is accretive as Veolia will direct all waste collected from its new customers to its Evergreen landfill in that market. "The acquisition of these assets is consistent with our strategy to expand our operations in the southern Georgia region and we were pleased to offer existing Milo Sanitation employees the opportunity to become part of Veolia," said Jim Long, president and CEO of Veolia ES Solid Waste. Details of the transaction were not disclosed...Read More »



Casella Strikes Deal to Sell Landfill Gas to UMaine

Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) has signed a 20-year agreement to sell gas from its Juniper Ridge landfill in Old Town, ME to the University of Maine in nearby Bangor, ME. Casella plans to construct a 5 to 6 mile pipeline to transport the gas which is currently flared to the college campus where it will be burned for heat and hot water. Plans call for its completion by the 2012 heating season. Janet Waldron, UMaine's vice president for administration and finance said she expects the University to save between $11 million and $20 million over the twenty year contract depending on prevailing energy costs. Other benefits include stable energy costs and a decreased carbon footprint...Read More »



Oshkosh Corp. Reports Big Drop in Commercial Vehicle Sales

Equipment maker Oshkosh Corp. (Oshkosh, WI) reported a large drop in quarterly profits from a year ago, primarily as a result of a gap between contracts for military vehicles, which accounts for two thirds of its sales. Its commercial segment (7 percent of sales), which includes waste management equipment sold under the McNeilus name, dropped 22.9 percent to $119.5 million in the first quarter due to an almost 40 percent decrease in refuse collection vehicle sales as a result of lower volume with large waste haulers which delayed orders in the down economic environment. Overall, the company reported a net profit of $99.6 million from October through December, the first quarter of its fiscal year. That was down from almost $170 million in the same period a year ago. Excluding one-time items, the quarterly profit was $1.22 per share, $0.33 higher than what analysts expected...Read More »



Woodland Biofuels Gets $12 Million to Build Waste-to-Ethanol Plant

Woodland Biofuels reported that it closed on a common equity investment in the company to help build a groundbreaking demonstration plant that will produce cellulosic ethanol from renewable wastes. The Ontario-based company noted January 11 that the common equity investment is part of US$12 million demonstration plant financing, and that investors included the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund (OETF), Investeco Capital and David LeGresley, former Vice-Chairman of National Bank Financial. OETF is a $250 million fund established by the Province of Ontario to co-invest alongside qualified investors in innovative, high-growth, private Ontario companies...Read More »



Investment Firm Commits $10 Million to BlueFire Renewables

BlueFire Renewables said a new investor, Chicago-based Lincoln Park Capital Fund LLC, will provide short term financing and has agreed to buy up to $9.85 million in the company's common stock over a 30-month period. BlueFire President and CEO Arnold Klann said the investment will be applied to constructing the company's 19 million gallon-per-year wood waste-to-ethanol plant in Fulton, MS, which continues to be the company's main focus. BlueFire is also developing a 3.9 million gallon-per-year facility in Lancaster, CA, which will use segregated green waste from MSW to produce ethanol. To date, the company has filed a pending $215 million application with the US Department of Energy (DOE) and has a pending $250 million US Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan guarantee, filed last August...Read More »



Perma-Fix Will Renegotiate Sale of Industrial Segment

Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (Atlanta, GA) said it now expects net income of $.04 to $.05 per diluted share in light of its decision to sell its industrial segment. Consequently, those operations have been reclassified as discontinued operations. Since its announced intention to sell those businesses, other parties have approached the company. Consequently, the company has terminated previously announced letters of intent to sell them in favor of a potentially better deal...Read More »



IESI-BFC Will Report 4th Quarter and Full Year Results on Feb. 22

IESI-BFC (Toronto, ON) plans to announce fourth quarter and full year financial results at the close of the markets on February 22. The company will host a conference call the following day at 8 am (ET) to discuss them...Read More »



Plasma Power, LLC Seeking a CFO

Plasma Power, LLC, a company which has been selected to build a $172 million, 62 MW Plasma based WTE Plant in Marion, Iowa, announced that it is seeking a new chief financial officer. The young company is looking for an executive with solid waste industry experience who has knowledge of district politics, operations, technologies and renewable energy issues. In that job they will work closely with the CEO and Chairman on strategic and policy matters...Read More »


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