Weekly News Bulletin: Jul. 19-25, 2011


House Bill to Regulate Coal Ash as Non-Hazardous Fails to Get Wide Support

A House bill to prohibit EPA's regulation of coal ash recently passed through the Energy and Commerce Committee on a 35-12 vote but has failed to garner broad support deemed necessary for its consideration by the Senate. The measure (H.R. 2273) generally allows states with approved municipal solid waste (MSW) programs to implement a permitting program for coal ash under subtitle D of the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulates non-hazardous waste. It also would bar EPA from moving forward with its own coal ash rule. EPA's proposal, issued last July, has drawn strong opposition from industry groups who charge that the option for regulating coal ash as a "special waste" subject to regulation under strict subtitle C requirements of RCRA -- which is usually reserved for regulating "hazardous" waste -- would create a "stigma" on coal ash and lead to a reduction in the beneficial reuse of the material in cement, gypsum and other products. Environmentalists say strict regulation is needed to protect against risk to human health and the environment...Read More »



Waste Connections Posts Stellar 2Q on Higher Volume and Recycling Prices

Waste Connections, Inc. (Folsom, CA) reported second quarter profit that rose by 46 percent on revenue that was up by 18 percent as waste disposal volumes and values for recycled items rose better than expected. For the quarter, the company reported net income of $44.4 million, or $0.39 per share, up from $30.4 million, or $0.26 per share, in the same period last year. Revenue surged 18 percent to $390.2 million, up from $330.5 million a year earlier. "2011 continues to play out well for us. Core pricing, increasing disposal volumes and record recycling commodity values once again contributed to solid results in the quarter. These factors, together with better than expected contribution from recent acquisitions, enabled us to exceed the upper end of our outlook," said Ronald J. Mittelstaedt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Our strong free cash flow, low leverage and more than $600 million of available capacity under our new credit facility provide tremendous flexibility to fund our growth strategy and return of capital to shareholders."...Read More »



Waste Connections Offers to Acquire Albany, NY Area Landfill in $100 Million Deal

Waste Connections (Folsom, CA) is offering to buy an Albany, NY area landfill in a deal worth up to $100 million. Under its proposal, yet to be approved by the Town Board, Waste Connections is proposing to run the Town of Colonie's landfill over a 25-year period. The town would receive an immediate $23 million signing payment, another $2.3 million annually for the first five years, and $1.1 million annually for the remaining 20 years. The move has strategic importance to Waste Connections which recently purchased County Waste and Recycling, one of the largest independent haulers in the region. The landfill would allow the company to internalize those volumes and give it a potentially significant amount of capacity in an area of the country that lacks landfill space and sees an increasing volume of its waste shipped elsewhere. As part of the deal and further tying there fortunes together, the town will also receive a "permit modification payment" of between $2 million and $10.8 million depending upon how much the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) allows the landfill to expand, (possibly up to 9.8 million cubic yards). The town also gets a $6 per ton premium for waste collected in excess of 170,500 tons annually...Read More »



EPA Asks Court to Stay Lawsuits While Boiler MACT is Reconsidered

The US EPA has asked a federal appeals court to stay a number of lawsuits over the agency's controversial air toxics rule for boilers pending EPA's reconsideration of several aspects of the rule that could alter or nullify many of the provisions at issue in the lawsuits. "Given EPA's ongoing review, with the concomitant possibility that the rule might be altered once the review is complete, EPA believes it appropriate to hold this litigation in abeyance while EPA completes its reconsideration process and its review of the administrative petitions for reconsideration," the agency says in a July 8 filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the consolidated suit United States Sugar Corporation v. EPA.

EPA earlier this year issued its final boiler MACT as part of a rulemaking package that also included emissions standards for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators (CISWI), a rule defining solid waste for determining whether facilities must meet the CISWI or MACT, and an air rule for sewage sludge incinerators. The rules prompted broad criticism from industry, lawmakers and others for imposing massive costs, setting overly stringent standards, having data flaws, and other alleged problems. Consequently, EPA launched an extended reconsideration process to examine several aspects of the MACT and CISWI to review contested provisions. EPA says in the filing that it intends to propose a revised boiler MACT by Oct. 31, 2011, with a final rule due in April 30, 2012...Read More »



Fortistar Wins $43 Million Contract to Supply Landfill Power to Marine Corps at Miramar

Fortistar Methane Group (White Plains, NY) has been awarded a $42.7 million fixed-price contract from the Department of the Navy to supply the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar with up to 3.2 megawatts of electricity over 15 years generated from methane produced by the San Diego, CA city-owned landfill there. Fortistar, the military, and the city of San Diego recently broke ground on the project which will meet about half of Miramar's energy needs. US Marine officials predicted that the power plant will help Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest exceed the Navy Secretary's energy goals for the Marine installation several years early. Fortistar said that it installed much of the existing methane collection system at the Miramar Landfill at company cost. The landfill is expected to remain operational until at least 2022 while the project will continue through 2027...Read More »



Waste Management adds 1,000th Natural Gas Truck With Big Future Plans

Waste Management (Houston, TX) announced the addition of its 1,000th natural gas truck to its fleet, "making it the largest owner and operator of clean-running, heavy duty refuse trucks in North America." It said a fleet that size will displace eight million gallons of petroleum and eliminate 45,100 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Consequently, 80 percent of its new purchases of trucks will be natural gas powered going forward. At a ceremony in Carson, CA, the company noted that its trucks based there as well as a third of its California fleet are now powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) derived from methane generated at the Altamont Landfill in Livermore, CA east of San Francisco. "Since November 2009, the landfill has been generating as much as 13,000 gallons of LNG per day, a virtually zero-carbon transportation fuel," WM said. Waste Management said it has CNG and LNG fueling at 17 of its facilities in North America "with more under development." It opened a CNG station in Monterey, CA last week...Read More »



EPA May Regulate Drilling Waste as Non-Hazardous Under RCRA

Recent concern about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) may be prompting the EPA to consider broader efforts to regulate oil and natural gas drilling wastes. This was evidenced by a recent letter from the agency asking as many as 26 states for information on how "produced water" and other drilling wastes are currently managed under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA). Agency officials have so far indicated that they will develop RCRA "guidance on how to construct proper wastewater pits and impoundments" associated with so-called fracking operations. Lately however, fracking operations are moving closer to populated places such as in Pennsylvania which is causing alarm. Environmentalists, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the EPA last September to regulate energy and production (E&P) wastes under Subtitle C...Read More »



Rhode Island's Central Landfill Welcomes Out-of-State Recyclables

Rhode Island state lawmakers recently amended a longstanding ban on out-of-state waste at its Central Landfill to allow for the import of recyclables. The Central Landfill is owned and operated by the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC), a quasi-governmental entity that has recently suffered nearly $75 million in losses stemming from years of mismanagement, cronyism, and malfeasance by some of its advisors. State planners are no doubt hopeful that importing recyclables would generate much needed profits, which at current prices, could total $60 per ton of material. RIRRC hopes that importing recyclables will add 20,000 to 30,000 tons per year to its recycling facility which is currently processing 100,000 tons or recyclables per year...Read More »



Foster Wheeler to Build 4 550 MWe Multi-Feedstock Power Generators for Korea

Foster Wheeler AG (Geneva, Switzerland) said it received a contract to build four steam power generators for Korea Southern Power Co Ltd. The engineering and construction company will build four 550 megawatt electric supercritical circulating fluidized-bed steam generators for Korea's Samcheok Green Power Project. Foster Wheeler said it won the contract because its generators will be able to use several fuel feedstocks including biomass and not just coal. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed...Read More »



Rentech Gets Final Air Permit for Port St. Joe Renewable Energy Project

Rentech, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA), a developer of clean waste-to-energy and fuels, said it received the final air permit for its proposed Port St. Joe, FL Renewable Energy Center, a combined-cycle power plant that will employ the company's SilvaGas biomass gasifier to convert 930 tons of woody biomass per day into 55 megawatts of clean power. The company signed a Power Purchase Agreement with Progress Energy of Florida that has been approved by the Florida Public Service Commission...Read More »



Perma-Fix Buys Safety and Ecology Holdings

Perma-Fix Environmental Services (Atlanta, GA) signed a $24.5 million deal to buy Safety and Ecology Holdings Corp. (SEC), a Knoxville, TN-based company that remediates nuclear materials for federal agencies. "The acquisition of SEC dramatically expands our nuclear services capabilities. On a combined basis, we can now offer customers, both government and commercial, one of the broadest and most comprehensive end-to-end nuclear waste solutions in the industry," Perma-Fix CEO Louis F. Centofanti. Perma-Fix, which describes itself as a national environmental services company has recently shed some of its industrial waste services facilities to focus on the more lucrative nuclear waste services segment...Read More »


Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin