Weekly News Bulletin: Mar. 15-21, 2011


Waste Agency Offers to Buy Troubled Harrisburg Incinerator for $45 Million

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) has offered to buy nearby Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's troubled incinerator for $45 million in cash and the promise of lower tipping fees, along with an investment in the facility itself. The purchase would allow LCSWMA to forgo, at least for a while, a planned $175 million expansion of its own Waste-to-Energy facility near Bainbridge since it could divert its own waste to Harrisburg instead. It would also help the City of Harrisburg which has been struggling to pay off $288 million owed on the nearly 40-year-old plant. Much of the debt resulted from years of mismanagement and a failed upgrade of the facility after it was shut down by regulators in 2003. Covanta Energy came to the rescue with a $22 million investment to get the plant working and continues to operate it today.

The city guarantees the incinerator debt, but has skipped payments. Dauphin County and bond insurer Assured Guaranty Municipal have made payments on the debt when the city failed to do so. The county and insurer are suing the city to recoup their payments. Meanwhile, Harrisburg is under the state's fiscal oversight program for distressed municipalities, and is said to be considering bankruptcy...Read More »



Report Projects Global Waste-to-Energy Market to Reach $27 Bil. By 2021

A new report projects the global waste-to-energy market to reach $27 billion by 2021 from $7 billion at present. The market research firm SBI Energy expects the market for incineration, gasification, plasma gasification, pyrolysis, and anaerobic digestion to grow at an annual rate of some 11% over the next 10 years. The forecast is motivated by the projected growth trends within the sector in the US, Europe, India and China. "As landfill availability continues to decline, the demand for waste management solutions will remain regardless of economic stresses, and will continue to drive the installation of new waste to energy facilities," SBI Energy publisher Shelley Carr said. SBI estimates that the sector has grown by $2 billion over the last five years driven by global concerns and government actions related to climate change. At present, over 2 billion tons of waste are being produced each year globally. According to SBI, the amount provides more than 24 quadrillion British Thermal Units (Btus) of available energy, or as much heat as is needed to supply some 10% of the global power consumption for a year...Read More »



Former Louisiana Official Accused of Taking Bribes to Fight Landfill

A former Louisiana wildlife official is charged with taking payoffs from a landfill company owner's businesses for his work in trying to keep a rival landfill closed. An indictment handed down by U.S. Attorney Jim Letten accuses former state Wildlife and Fisheries Commissioner Henry Mouton of concealing his financial motives when he lobbied members of Congress "to gain their assistance in keeping the Old Gentilly Landfill closed." Mouton also is accused of trying to persuade federal authorities to investigate the New Orleans landfill. The indictment does not name the businessman whose companies allegedly paid Mouton more than $463,000, but it says that Mouton had touted the River Birch Landfill. The Old Gentilly Landfill was opened under emergency conditions to accept debris wrought by Hurricane Katrina...Read More »



Activists Urge Export Ban of Federal Government E-Waste to Developing Countries

Environmental groups are urging the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to prohibit federal agencies from exporting electronics to developing countries. The White House set up an interagency task force in November, comprised of officials from the CEQ, the General Service Administration and the EPA to develop a "national strategy" for "responsible electronics stewardship," including improvements to federal procedures for managing used electronics. The Electronics TakeBack Coalition recently launched a campaign urging supporters to submit comments to the task force to "do the right thing." The federal government, one of the largest purchasers of electronics, should "lead by example" and adopt a policy that "clearly states that no U.S. government owned e-waste will be exported to developing countries," it said. The task force is scheduled to deliver its recommendations to the Council on Environmental Quality on May 8...Read More »



Waste Management Buys Three Recycling Facilities in Mid-Atlantic

Waste Management announced that its subsidiary WM Recycle America (WMRA) has bought three material recovery facilities (MRFs), one in Baltimore and two in Northern Virginia as part of plan to enhance its offerings in the Mid-Atlantic region. WMRA acquired the MRFs in Baltimore and Manassas, VA from the Canusa Hershman Recycling Co, and the third in Springfield, VA, from a joint venture of Canusa Corp. and The Washington Post Co. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed. In total, the new facilities will add more than 30,000 tons of monthly sorting capacity, including a single stream facility. "Recent performance of the three facilities has been impressive, including their ability to expand operations and grow volumes," said Pat DeRueda, president of Waste Management Recycle America...Read More »



Casella Closes on Redemption of all 9.75% Notes Due 2013

Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) said it closed on its previously announced redemption of all of its outstanding 9.75% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2013. The company redeemed an aggregate of $28.1 million in principal plus accrued and unpaid interest through Mar. 9. Casella has been selling non-core operations to pay down debt and to focus on its core markets. Earlier this month, the company closed on its $134.1 million sale of 17 recycling facilities and a transfer station in its non-core operating markets to a newly established company, Re Community Holdings, LP (New York, NY) formed by Pegasus Capital Advisors LP and Intersection LLC...Read More »



Waste Connections Has Donated $1 Million to Global Waste Research Institute

Waste Connections (Folsom, CA) made a $700,000 donation to the Global Waste Research Institute (GWRI) at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, CA. The institute, which was formed last year with a startup grant from Waste Connections of $300,000, represents a collaborative effort between a public university and industry to promote the development of sustainable waste and byproduct management technologies and advance current global practices in resource management. "This generous gift to Cal Poly's Global Waste Research Institute secures a visionary effort built on the university's Learn by Doing Mission," said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong in a statement. "Waste management is an increasingly complex challenge, and these are precisely the kinds of 21st Century problems Cal Poly wants to help solve."...Read More »



Perma-Fix's Q4 Helped by Growth in Nuclear Segment

In announcing its fourth quarter results, Perma-Fix Environmental Services (Atlanta, GA) proclaimed that "Revenue for calendar year 2010 from our Nuclear Segment increased by 7.1% to $95.3 million and comprised 97.5% of our overall revenue of $97.8 million," said Chairman and CEO Dr. Louis F. Centofanti. He said the company is increasingly deriving its business from on-site services, particularly in the treatment and disposition of low level radioactive wastes. Revenue for the quarter declined slightly to $25.5 million versus $26.4 million for the same period last year even as sales in the nuclear segment increased to $95.3 million from $89.0 million last year. Net income for the fourth quarter fell to $1.6 million, or $0.03 per share, versus net income of $5.7 million or $0.10 per share, for the same period in 2009 which included a one-time tax benefit of $2.5 million...Read More »



Avalon Holdings Sees Improved Fourth Quarter Results

Warren, Ohio-based Avalon Holdings Corp. said that higher fourth quarter revenues pushed the company into positive earnings for the quarter and helped narrow its loss for the year. Revenues for the quarter rose to $11.3 million from $10.1 million in last year's quarter. That helped push earnings to $.1 million or $.02 per share in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with a net loss of $.1 million or $.03 per share in the fourth quarter of 2009. For the full year of 2010, revenues increased to $43.5 million from $36.9 million for the prior year period. The net loss for the year narrowed to $.5 million or $.14 per share from a net loss of $.8 million, or $.20 per share in 2009...Read More »


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