Weekly News Bulletin: Jun. 14-20, 2011


Senators Push for Final Coal Ash Solid Waste Rule

A bipartisan group of Senators is urging the Obama administration to regulate coal ash as a subtitle D waste, arguing that further delays are hurting the beneficial reuse market for those materials. Many in the industry have argued that the beneficial reuse market has evaporated over uncertainty over the lingering proposal. EPA last year proposed a rule seeking comment on regulating coal ash either as solid waste under RCRA subtitle D or as hazardous waste under subtitle C, after a protracted interagency battle over the agency's preferred approach to propose only hazardous waste rules. The agency had originally intended to finalize the rule this year but now lists no time frame for a final rule, according to the Unified Regulatory Agenda.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, and Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, sent a letter May 26 signed by 42 other senators calling on President Obama to swiftly regulate coal ash as a subtitle D solid waste because regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste under RCRA subtitle C would eliminate the beneficial reuse market. The market for coal ash reuse has been declining ever since EPA announced it would begin its rulemaking shortly after a major coal ash spill from a surface impoundment dam in Tennessee in December 2008, the letter says...Read More »



China Overtakes US as Biggest Energy Consumer

A new report says that China has overtaken the United States as the world's largest energy consumer. In its 60th annual Global Energy Review, oil company BP said that China's energy consumption rose by 11.2 percent last year, compared with 3.7 percent in the US. That moved China into the top spot, accounting for 20.3 percent of global demand, ahead of the US in second place with 19 percent. China's surge led a 5.6 percent increase in global energy demand, the biggest one-year jump since 1973. China was by far the world's largest consumer of coal, taking 48 percent. The US remained the largest consumer of oil with 21 percent of global demand, nearly double that of China. Demand for all forms of energy grew strongly in 2010 and increases in fossil fuel consumption suggest that global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use rose at their fastest rate since 1969.

"There were both structural and cyclical factors at work," said Bob Dudley, BP Chief Executive. "The cyclical factor is reflected in the fact that industrial production rebounded very sharply as the world recovered from the global downturn. Structurally, the increase reflects the continuing rapid economic growth in the developing world...Read More »



Industry Files Dozens of Lawsuits over EPA Boiler and Incinerator Rules

So far, industry groups, companies, states and local officials have filed at least 38 separate lawsuits challenging a suite of EPA rules that includes a new source performance standard to cut criteria pollutant emissions from commercial and industrial solid waste incineration (CISWI) units; a maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rule to cut air toxics from boilers; a new rule defining solid waste for the purpose of determining whether a facility is subject to the CISWI rule or MACT; and a MACT for sewage sludge incinerators. The groups have filed the lawsuits despite the agency's delay of implementing the rules as it reconsiders some of the regulations to address industry concerns.

More than half of the suits filed so far in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit target the boiler and incinerator rules, which are the two regulations in the package that have drawn the strongest criticisms from Republican lawmakers and others for their cost and stringency. At least 15 suits challenge the boiler MACT and 15 target the CISWI rule. Critics of the two rules say there are major flaws including inaccurate emissions data that led to unachievable pollution control limits. EPA published the rules on March 21, but on May 16 said it was using its authority under the Administrative Procedure Act to stay implementation of the boiler MACT and CISWI rules so it can reconsider key provisions and review thousands of comments from industry and other stakeholders...Read More »



Economic Recovery? More Waste into Virginia Landfills after Years of Decline

The volume of waste received by the state of Virginia's landfills increased slightly in 2010, the first such increase since 2006, according to a new report. The report by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality documents 19.7 million tons of waste disposed in Virginia's landfills last year, a modest 1 percent increase from 19.5 million tons disposed in 2009. The total includes waste collected by municipalities, construction and yard waste, tires, petroleum-contaminated soil and other items. While the total increased, it is still the second lowest amount since 2000 and far below the 25.1 million tons disposed in 2006. The report attributes the relative decline primarily to the economy, especially its impact on construction. Construction waste disposal in Virginia has declined by 25 percent since 2006. An increase in the state's recycling rate to 38.5 percent in 2009, up from 29.8 percent in 2004 also helps explain some of the drop in disposal. That was offset this year by a nearly 30 percent increase in waste imports, which in 2010 rose to 5.5 million tons from 4.2 million tons the year before. Most out-of-state waste is received from Maryland, New York, the District of Columbia, North Carolina and New Jersey, according to the report...Read More »



California Recycles its 1 Billionth Pound of E-waste

The golden state of California says it has recycled 1 billion pounds of electronics waste (e-waste) since it first passed a law in Sep. 2003, the first of any state to do so. The state estimates that 1 billion pounds equates to 20 million computers and televisions that have been diverted from landfills. Since then 24 other states have passed similar measures. However, California is the only state that funds its program by charging consumers an upfront fee at the point of purchase rather than charging manufacturers, known as the producer pays model that is employed in most of the other states with e-waste laws. California then distributes the funds to recyclers based on the tonnage of material recycled, but that has led to fraud and e-waste appearing from other states. Meanwhile, manufacturers, including the Consumer Electronics Association, complain that they have to comply with a patchwork of 25 different state requirements...Read More »



Waste Management Adjusts Leadership Team, Elevates James Trevathan and Others

Waste Management (Houston, TX) has made some adjustments to its leadership team that the company says reflects its renewed emphasis on integrating its functional areas, and what it calls its "customer focused growth strategy." The company said James E. Trevathan has been appointed to the newly created role of executive vice president, Growth, Innovation and Field Support. He was previously senior vice president of the company's Southern Group operations. In his new position he will be responsible for integrating operations, sales and people functions to support the field's achievement of the company's transformational growth goals. Consequently, he will report directly to president and CEO David P Steiner...Read More »



Clean Harbors Closes Peak Energy Services Acquisition

Clean Harbors (Norwell, MA) has completed its CAN$202 million acquisition of Canadian diversified services provider Peak Energy Services. Peak's directors and managers together with Deans Knight Capital Management Ltd held a combined 53.6 percent share in the company. Under the terms of the agreement, Clean Harbors, which used cash to finance the deal, paid CAN$0.95 per share for Peak and assumed CAN$36 million in debt. Peak, which employs 900 and had revenues of CAN$153 million last year, provides related services to the oil and natural gas business in both Canada and the United States. "Peak complements the industrial services and oil and gas field services segments of our business," said Alan S. McKim, chairman and CEO of Clean Harbors, in a press release. "We are excited about the cross-selling opportunities created by this acquisition, particularly the oil and gas plays in the United States."...Read More »



Clean Harbors Announces Two-For-One Stock Split

Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) announced a two-for-one split of its common stock. The split takes the form of a stock dividend equal to one share for each outstanding share, payable on July 26 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on July 6. The company's stock has nearly doubled in value over the last year or so as the company has expanded its service offerings and benefitted from disaster cleanup work and higher special wastes volumes into its landfills.

The company has been on an acquisition spree lately, with its most recent deal being a $204 million purchase of Calgary, Alberta-based Peak Energy. Another proposed acquisition - of Badger Daylighting, also Canadian - fell through, but CEO Alan S. McKim reportedly plans more deals in the future. "Our goal in approving this stock split is to improve liquidity and expand our shareholder base," McKim said in a statement. According to the company, "the stock split follows the approval, at the Company's 2011 Annual Meeting of Stockholders; of a proposal to increase the Company's authorized shares of common stock from 40 million to 80 million." After the stock split, Clean Harbors will have approximately 53 million shares of common stock outstanding...Read More »



Clean Harbors Names CFO James M. Rutledge to Board

Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) announced that its Board of Directors appointed James M. Rutledge, 58, the Company's Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, to Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, effective immediately. "Since joining Clean Harbors in 2005, Jim has made substantial contributions to the Company's success in many areas, including operational efficiency, fiscal management and financial analysis," said CEO Alan S. McKim. Prior to joining Clean Harbors in 2005, Rutledge served as the CFO of Rogers Corporation...Read More »



Waste Management Opens CNG Station to Boost Fleet in New Jersey

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) has opened a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Camden, NJ, which will help the company expand its fleet of CNG vehicles in the area. It was built by Clean Energy Fuels Corp. and will be operated by PetroCard, a fuel distributor that also helped fund the project. Waste Management recently acquired 14 CNG-powered collection trucks for the area and expects to have 45 more in service by the end of the summer, representing nearly half its Camden-based fleet. Overall, Waste Management has set for itself a a sustainability goal of reducing fleet emissions by 15 percent and increasing fuel efficiency by 15 percent by 2020. It already boasts operating the largest fleet of CNG-powered recycling and waste collection trucks in North America. In addition to the environmental benefits, the effort is also a hedge against volatile diesel and gasoline prices that have jumped 40 percent in price over the past year despite flat demand. In comparison, CNG is a domestically sourced fuel with stable supplies and more predictable long-term pricing...Read More »


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