The EPA announced that it will delay a suite of new rules requiring boilers and industrial and commercial incinerators to implement maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). The so-called "Boiler MACT" rules were published on March 21, with an effective date of May 20 and compliance deadlines beginning in three years, but EPA has now agreed to stay the rules pending reconsideration of their impact on industry and further examination of more that 4,800 comments received since the rules were proposed in April 2010. Last month, a coalition of manufacturing organizations filed a petition claiming that many affected facilities would not be able to achieve the new standards and would likely be forced to shut down, causing significant economic harm. Among the many industry concerns are those from the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners which said the proposed rule would cost the industry $20 billion and as many as 300,000 jobs. In a statement, EPA said it is "reconsidering the standards because the public did not have sufficient opportunity to comment on these changes, and, as a result, further public review and feedback is needed."...Read More »
Maryland's Gov. Martin O'Malley said he intends to sign a bill (SB 690) that enhances incentives for waste-to-energy plants allowing them to qualify for renewable energy credits under the state's renewable portfolio standard by classifying municipal solid waste as a Tier I renewable. Under fire for the decision from activists, the Governor released a lengthy statement May 17 explaining his reasoning and the bill's benefits. The state has an aggressive goal of 20 percent renewable energy by 2022, he said, which will require a diverse fuel mix to accomplish.
"Maryland is not alone in this determination," he continued. "Over half of the states that have a renewable energy goal classify municipal solid waste as a renewable fuel. European countries that are many decades ahead of the United States in reducing their carbon footprint and their reliance on fossil fuels make broad use of modern waste-to-energy facilities and employ comprehensive recycling efforts in order to land fill as little waste as possible." He reasoned that emissions from waste-to-energy facilities will be more environmentally friendly than the current landfilling and coal-burning strategy although he acknowledged mercury emissions as the most "worrisome aspect" which he intends to control through "vigorous regulation."...Read More »
Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) CEO Alan McKim told Reuters recently that his company would likely raise its 2011 revenue outlook following a recent acquisition and that the company will look at deals in the waste disposal business. He said he could raise the outlook by at least 6 percent, boosted by a recent acquisition and additional business related to Mississippi flood cleanup work. Last month's acquisition of Canada's Peak Energy Services Ltd. could raise this year's revenue by about $100 million. Moreover, Mississippi flood cleanup is likely to drive more volume to its disposal facilities which have already reported steady volume despite the usually slow seasonal quarter, according to last week's first quarter report. That will likely steer the company, which has recently been diversifying into the energy services business, towards more traditional waste deals. In its first quarter report, the company said volumes at its waste disposal business, its largest segment, are being driven bymanufacturing activity and by a rebound in the economy...Read More »
Swisher Hygiene Inc., which includes Choice Environmental Services, said first quarter revenue jumped 86 percent year-over-year and 55 percent since the fourth quarter. However, amid its early growth phase, it lost $3.2 million in the first quarter during which it incurred $1.3 million in merger-related costs. The company is under the leadership of H. Wayne Huizenga, and CEO Steve Berrard who are already consolidating the industry as did with earlier successes at AutoNation and Blockbuster. Since August, Swisher has acquired eight franchisee and 15 independent hygiene and chemical companies. In February Swisher bought Fort Lauderdale, FL-based Choice Environmental in a deal valued at $92 million. "This is just the beginning of the increase in revenue that we anticipate reporting over the next few quarters and we believe the second half of the year should more accurately reflect how well our strategy is working in terms of revenue growth, margin expansion and leveraged operating costs," said Berrard...Read More »
The American Chemistry Council released a report that argues in favor of waste-to-energy (WTE) as a valuable source of alternative energy and as means to avoid landfilling waste, especially non-recyclable plastics which have high recycling and energy value. The study, conducted by Government Advisory Associates, Inc., examines four WTE plants that vary according to size and accordingly the market area served. The results showed that non-recycled plastics contribute 25% to 35% of the total energy recovered from municipal solid waste in each of the counties. Moreover, the study showed that WTE and recycling are complementary, not competitive, processes and that communities with WTE typically have higher than average recycling rates, as was the case in each of the case studies and is consistent with prior studies...Read More »
Waste industry lobbyists are supporting a California bill (SB 841) that would protect haulers from potential Proposition 26 litigation challenging city or county fees for solid waste and recycling programs. Prop. 26, passed last November, broadened the definition of taxes to include payments previously considered fees or charges. That makes those charges now subject to required approval by two-thirds of each house of the Legislature or by local voters. The fear is that without the new legislation, haulers under contract or franchise agreements could be responsible for paying millions of dollars to municipalities that are sued under Prop. 26. SB 841, sponsored by state Sen. Lois Wolk (D), would prohibit local governments from requiring waste haulers to compensate local jurisdictions for Prop. 26 lawsuits that result in findings that solid waste fees are unconstitutional and require voter approval. SB 841 supporters also argue that it would not be fair to hold haulers responsible for fees that usually exceed what they are paid and used instead to subsidize general fund obligations of local governments.
According to a draft SB 841 "talking points" paper, the bill is intended to apply restrictions on local agencies' ability to require indemnification, or compensation, for challenges to local solid waste fees under Prop. 26. "Local governments should not be allowed to pass their risk of imposing unconstitutional fees on to private firms that had no responsibility for: (a) determining the amount of these fees or (b) even imposing these fees in the first instance."...Read More »
KiOR (Pasadena, TX) announced that it has broken ground on its first commercial biofuel production facility in Columbus, MS, which once online late in 2012, will convert 500 tons of biomass per day into 11 million gallons of oil annually. The company also announced that FedEx had signed an agreement to by diesel blendstocks produced by the plant. Already in place are similar agreements with Hunt Refining Company, and Catchlight Energy LLC, a 50-50 joint venture between subsidiaries of Chevron Corporation and Weyerhaeuser Company. The biorefinery has received local investments of $190 million and statewide more than $500 million. Once the first plant is complete, KiOR has plans to add four more sites, two in Mississippi and two with undetermined locations...Read More »
California regulators and oil industry representatives, at a May 11 meeting of the California Energy Commission's (CEC), say that Congress will likely have to relax requirements under EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS2), since data shows a future shortage of cellulosic ethanol and advanced biofuels needed to meet the standards. The officials say EPA may have to issue rule waivers to refining companies this year and in 2012 exempting them from compliance with RFS2. Moreover, California industry officials say the same problems with biofuel supplies will likely prevent retailers from meeting the state's landmark low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), which requires a 10% reduction in the carbon intensity of gasoline and diesel by the end of 2020.
For 2011, the current EPA regulation requires refiners to produce 6 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, 1.2 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel, 1.35 billion gallons of "advanced" biofuel, and a total of 13.95 billion gallons of renewable fuel. Advanced biofuels are considered those that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% compared with conventional gasoline...Read More »
Republic Services, Inc. (Phoenix, AZ) and Fortistar (White Plains, NY) have broken ground on a 6.4 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy project at Republic's Old Dominion Landfill in Richmond, VA which will produce power to be sold under a long-term power purchase agreement with Old Dominion Electric Cooperative. The plant, which will achieve commercial operation in late Fall 2011, will utilize four Caterpillar G3520 reciprocating generators, each rated at 1.6 megawatts, to help meet the power needs of about 3,700 area homes. This adds to the over 20 projects Fortistar currently operates on Republic Services landfills. Fortistar has ownership stakes in over 60 renewable energy projects in North America, with total generating capacity exceeding 3,000 MW...Read More »
William Charles Energy, LLC has broken ground on a new $10 million landfill gas-to-energy center in Rochelle, IL, that once complete later this year, will produce 4.8 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 4,000 area homes. The Rochelle Energy Center will capture methane from the Rochelle Municipal Landfill and utilize 3 Caterpillar G3520 reciprocating generators, each rated at 1.6 megawatts, to produce electricity. The Rochelle Municipal Utility (RMU) group will buy that electricity from the center's developer, William Charles Energy, LLC...Read More »
Turning Earth, LLC (Brewster, NY), a developer of organics recycling facilities, has signed an agreement with Danish company Solum Group to exclusively license and jointly develop organics facilities that utilize Solum's High Solids Anaerobic Digestion ("HSAD") "Aikan" Technology. Andrew Kessler, Turning Earth's President, described the Aikan system as providing "the most elegant, flexible and integrated solution to converting organic waste into high quality biogas and compost." He said the technology is proven and would work seamlessly with his company's "Triple Play" approach that seeks to solve waste management, energy security, and local agriculture challenges in one fell swoop...Read More »
Avalon Holdings Corp. (Warren, OH) said that 22 percent growth in its waste transportation and disposal segment led to higher first quarter revenue. That helped narrow its net loss to $.3 million, or $.09 per share compared with a net loss of $.6 million, or $.15 per share, for the first quarter of 2010. Revenue increased to $9.9 million in the first quarter of 2011 from $8.3 million a year ago...Read More »