Weekly News Bulletin: Jul. 26-Aug. 1, 2011


Senate Bill Aims to Soften and Delay EPA Boiler MACT

A bipartisan group of senators has drafted a bill that would delay enactment and compliance deadlines for EPA's controversial air rules for boilers and incinerators, while at the same time clarifying that biomass, tire-derived fuel and other materials would not be subject to strict incinerator emissions requirements. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and others introduced a bill on July 20 that would delay EPA's final rules setting stricter maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards for boilers as well as a new source performance standard (NSPS) to cut emissions from commercial and industrial solid waste incineration (CISWI) units and a waste definition rule that determines to which of the air rules combustion units are subject. After issuing the rules, EPA exercised its discretion to stay portions of the CISWI and boiler rules, to reconsider certain aspects of them after receiving an overwhelming response from industry, lawmakers and others. Consequently, industry groups and the EPA have both asked a federal appellate court to stay litigation on the boiler rules, while EPA has asked the court to stay litigation on the CISWI rule. But litigation is continuing over the waste definition and a related rule addressing emissions from sewage sludge incinerators. The bill would delay implementation of EPA's boiler MACT, CISWI and solid waste rules by 15 months after the bill is enacted, giving EPA additional leeway should the agency want to push the finalization date back further. And it softens a host of regulatory provisions that have proven controversial with industry...Read More »



Progressive Waste Second Quarter Profit Up 84% on Higher Pricing

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd., formerly IESI- BFC Ltd. posted second quarter profit that jumped 84 percent on revenue that rose by 57 percent, helped by recent acquisitions, higher pricing and volumes. Net income was US$36.61 million or US$0.30 per share, up from US$19.84 million or US$0.21 per share in the same quarter last year. Revenues rose to US$469.5 million from US$299.6 million in the second quarter of 2010.

"We had a solid performance in the second quarter, with strong organic growth rates for our base business helping us achieve revenues in line with our expectations, despite the headwinds of weather in our Canadian segment and a delay in realizing some efficiencies related to the consolidation of certain Waste Services, Inc. operations with our existing locations in Canada," said Keith Carrigan, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. "Acquisitions contributed significantly to our total performance, which included contributions from our acquisition of WSI and the 13 "tuck-in" acquisitions we completed in 2010. We also added six more acquisitions to our portfolio in the second quarter, bringing the year-to-date total to seven, which will contribute to our performance through the balance of 2011."...Read More »



Administration Unveils Electronics Stewardship Strategy

The federal government will leverage its purchasing power to drive changes in electronics manufacturing and recycling and encourage more sustainable products and practices, according to a new report by an interagency taskforce. The National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship, announced July 20 by the EPA, the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the General Services Administration (GSA), is the result of interagency discussions spurred by a November directive from President Obama. The plan outlines four overarching goals covering the lifecycle of electronics and starting with building incentives for the design of greener electronics and ensuring that the federal government "leads by example," increasing the safe and effective management and handling of used electronics domestically, and reducing the harm of exports of e-waste.

The strategy includes previously announced actions such as the EPA revising its regulations on discarded cathode ray tubes to enhance enforcement of its export restrictions. And it requires the federal government to use recyclers who have been certified by third-party programs such as Responsible Recyclers or E-Stewards when recycling used electronics and calls on more recyclers to obtain certification. It also includes the GSA removing products from its schedules program that lack Energy Star certification or Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registration...Read More »



Covanta Reports Improved Second Quarter Results

Covanta Holding Corp. (Morristown, NJ) reported better-than-expected second quarter profit of $18 million or $0.13 per share, down from $26 million or $0.17 per share last year. However, Net income from continuing operations for the quarter was $17 million or $0.12 per share, up from $16 million or $0.10 per share last year. And, on an adjusted basis, earnings for the quarter were $0.14 per share, compared to $0.11 per share last year. Revenue rose 5 percent to $411 million. CEO Anthony Orlando said construction activities are on track and the company benefited from an improved operating environment, which includes strong recycled metals prices, firming waste markets and energy prices that are holding steady in the face of ample natural gas supply. During the quarter, Covanta repurchased 4.2 million shares, or 3 percent of its outstanding shares, at a weighted average cost of $16.58 per share. Looking forward, the company still expects adjusted earnings in a range of $0.40 - $0.55 per share for the full year...Read More »



San Francisco Approves Contract to Ship Waste by Rail to Yuba County

The City of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors approved a contract with Recology, Inc. (San Francisco, CA) to ship as much as 5 million tons, or 400,000 tons per year, of the city's waste over a 10 year period to Yuba County. Recology plans to ship the waste by rail to its 236-acre Ostrom Road Landfill in Wheatland, CA, 130 miles away. In so doing, it promises to save city ratepayers $100 million, reduce transportation fuel usage by 1 million gallons, and 10 million fewer truck miles on Bay Area highways by switching to rail haul, according to the company. The current 27-year agreement with Waste Management (Houston, TX) which takes the city's waste to its Altamont Landfill site in Livermore, expires in 2015.

The San Francisco Department on the Environment, which oversees the landfill contract, rejected Waste Management's bid to keep the contract amid criticism about Recology's 79-year-old monopoly on picking up the city's waste. San Francisco currently generates abut 5,600 tons of waste per day, with all but 20 percent or so diverted from landfill. San Francisco's goal is to have zero landfill waste by 2020...Read More »



Chicago Seeks to Privatize Waste Collection and Recycling

Chicago, IL Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to overhaul his city's waste collection and curbside recycling programs, setting up a battle with city aldermen and labor unions opposed to the changes. At issue is the desire to save money by streamlining operations and through privatization. Last week his office said it would implement managed competition to extend recycling services to more areas of the city. The city is to be divided into six service areas, four of which will be serviced by two private sector companies, beginning this fall. That could serve as a blueprint for transitioning the city's entire waste collection system towards privatization. In his campaign for Mayor, Emanuel estimated the city could save more than $60 million by getting rid of the city's inefficient ward-by-ward system of collection...Read More »



Industry Groups Clash Over E-Waste Strategy

The Obama administration's desire to ratify an international agreement to control imports and exports of hazardous wastes has drawn opposite responses from two industry groups that differ over the export of electronic waste. A national strategy developed by an interagency task force -- comprising the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administrator (GSA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality -- said it would support ratification of the Basel Convention on the control of trans-boundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal but it made no mention of a later Basel Ban Amendment that would prohibit exports of hazardous waste. The US signed the basic convention in 1990 but has never passed legislation to implement it. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) supports the interagency approach and feels that the Basel Ban Amendment is "a horrible idea," because it has not been adopted by enough countries and would interfere with the market for valuable recycled commodities. Moreover, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) guides the proper handling of wastes. But Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Action Network, said it was "shameful" that the administration would support the export of toxic wastes to developing countries from developed countries. He said RCRA would not be sufficient in that it exempts almost all forms of hazardous waste that are destined for recycling...Read More »



Advanced Waste Gasification Plant will Handle Newburgh, NY Garbage

The City of Newburgh, NY, north of New York City, plans to save as much as $14 per ton on its waste disposal by sending it instead to a soon-to-be-built biomass gasification plant in nearby Montgomery, NY. The plant, which is being built by Taylor Biomass Energy, features a proprietary biomass gasification system that can convert a wide variety of feedstocks into a synthesis gas (syngas) which is converted into clean energy in a process the company believes to be more efficient than competing technologies. Taylor says that it can achieve an overall power generation efficiency of over 40%, nearly twice that of conventional combustion (or direct combustion) technologies in today's marketplace...Read More »



States Worry House EPA Budget Bill Will Harm State Waste Programs

State waste officials are worried that Congressional cuts to EPA's fiscal 2012 budget will leave them holding the bag for cleanup costs and hazardous waste programs. An analysis by the Association of State & Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) says the funding bill approved earlier this month could result in a nearly $40 million cut for brownfields funding and a $17 million reduction in Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) core funding, compared with the President's budget request and that the Superfund trust fund could be decreased by $50 million compared to fiscal year 2011 appropriations. President Obama requested $99 million for brownfields, but the Appropriations Committee only approved approximately $60 million. The committee also approved only $1.22 billion for Superfund, compared to the $1.27 billion in approved funding in fiscal 2011. The Obama administration has threatened to veto the House committee's bill which it says includes "ideological and political provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation," offering strong opposition to numerous policy riders blocking key EPA rules and programs and a series of budget cuts that the administration says will hobble the agency...Read More »



Terrabon Wins $9.6 Million Waste-to-Jet Fuel Deal

Bioenergy company Terrabon Inc. (Houston, TX) has secured a $9.6 million, 18-month contract from Logos Technologies to produce 6,000 liters of renewable jet fuel for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). "An important focus of this DARPA effort is to produce a sustainable, cost-effective, non-fossil fuel based solution to support the military's jet fuel needs," said Dr. Greg Poe, CEO of Logos Technologies. Terrabon's production solution converts low-cost, non-food, non-sterile biomass in chemicals such as acetic acid, ketones and alcohols that can be processed into renewable fuels. Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) is a strategic partner and investor in Terrabon. In August 2010, they partnered with Terrabon and Valero to commercialize a technology to create low-carbon liquid transportation fuel from organic waste...Read More »



Vancouver Waste Plan Calls for 70% Diversion and Waste-to-Energy

Metro Vancouver, BC won approval for its long range solid waste plan that seeks to minimize waste, aims for 70 percent waste diversion, through recycling, composting and other programs by 2015, and calls for the construction of two new waste-to-energy facilities. The Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), submitted last September, predicts that even with 70 percent waste diversion, more than a million tons of waste per year will require disposal for which it recommends waste-to-energy as the alternative that best protects the environment while affording energy recapture. Consequently, waste-to-energy will necessitate a constructive working relationship with the surrounding Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) which shares its disposal needs and a common and critically important air shed...Read More »



BMW to Convert Landfill Methane into Hydrogen Fuel for its Plant

BMW Manufacturing Co. (BMW) is developing a $1 million venture to convert landfill gas into hydrogen to fuel the company's equipment at its South Carolina manufacturing plant. The German automobile giant said it is working with a team that includes Advanced Technology International (a subsidiary of SCRA), the Gas Technology Institute, Ameresco, Inc., and the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance. The effort is being funded by the South Carolina Research Authority. Since 2003, BMW has been using methane gas from a local landfill to power more than half of its plant's equipment. Two years ago, the company spent $12 million to make that program more efficient, and officials boast that the effort has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 92,000 tons per year...Read More »



Clean Harbors to Report Second Quarter Results on August 3

Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) plans to release second quarter financial results during a conference call the company will host on Wednesday, August 3 at 9 a.m. (EDT)...Read More »


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