Weekly News Bulletin: Sep. 7-13, 2011


Waste Connections Considers Moving to Texas

Waste Connections (Folsom, CA), in an apparent showdown with California governmental officials, is threatening to move to Texas. Waste Connections chairman and CEO Ron Mittelstaedt recently told the Sacramento Bee that his company has been negotiating with Texas officials to relocate its headquarters to Houston, Woodlands or Austin. Citing a tough "business climate" and a "dysfunctional" state Legislature, he said the company is frustrated with state lawmakers' attempts to thwart a bill that would allow its recently acquired Potrero Hills Landfill to accept out-of-county wastes. For Waste Connections, the demise of AB 1178 would make it difficult for the company to expand the landfill in Solano County, placing its $100 million investment at risk. The bill would have allowed the company to get around a voter-approved initiative known as Measure E that caps waste imports to Solano County landfills at 95,000 tons per year. AB 1178 would prohibit any city or county ordinance orvoter initiative from restricting or limiting the importation of waste into a privately owned facility in that city or county based on place of origin. Mittelstaedt said talks with Texas officials have been ongoing "for a while now" and that the state is offering incentives that could reduce the company's sales and property taxes as well as relocation assistance. By contrast, California lawmakers are "shoving businesses out," Mittelstaedt said...Read More »



EPA Rules Would Cost Industry Billions According to White House

As requested by Congress, President Obama has identified four high-profile EPA air and waste rules that are expected to cost more than $1 billion annually, including new ozone standards, air toxics and waste disposal rules for coal-fired power plants and air quality rules for boilers and incinerators. This is likely to galvanize Republican lawmakers seeking to block the measures in Congress. But Obama, in an Aug. 30 letter responding to a request from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), downplays Republican and industry concerns about the high costs of rules on the regulatory agenda, arguing that pending rules may not be issued anytime soon and still face executive branch review to reduce costs as required by his Executive Order 13563.

However, Obama says that of the seven pending rules likely to cost more than $1 billion, four are EPA measures, including the reconsideration of the Bush-era national ambient air quality standard for ozone ($19 billion - $90 billion annually); the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for coal- and oil-fired electric steam-generating units ($10 billion); the NESHAP for major source industrial and commercial boilers and incinerators ($3 billion); and standards for managing coal combustion residuals generated by commercial electric power facilities ($600 million - $1.5 billion). The three other rules on the list are being developed by the Department of Transportation...Read More »



Manufacturers Worry Revised EPA Report Will Lead to New Solid Waste Rules

Manufacturers are beginning to worry that EPA's efforts to widen the scope of its MSW Characterization Study will inevitably lead to new regulations, especially for industrial and construction and demolition (C&D) wastes that are not currently reported. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which accuses the agency of having an "aggressive regulatory agenda [that] threatens economic growth and jobs," according to its website, believes there is "always the potential that this could lead to new burdensome regulations." They are also engaged in a "No New Regs" campaign against what it calls EPA's overregulation...Read More »



US Scrap Recycling Industry Expands by 40% in 2010

According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the US scrap recycling industry rebounded sharply in 2010, generating $77 billion in revenues, rising 40 percent from $54 billion in 2009 when it was impacted by collapsing prices amid the global recession. ISRI's latest report says that the industry added 10,000 jobs in 2010 and now employs over 130,000 people, paying an average wage of $66,704. The industry also indirectly supports an additional 321,500 jobs through suppliers and industry expenditures. "This Labor Day 450,000 people are working because of the strength of the U.S. scrap recycling industry," said Robin Wiener, ISRI President. "This number will continue to grow with the recognition that the scrap recycling industry can boost our economy, improve our trade deficit, and protect our environment and natural resources." According to the report, last year the industry processed 74 million tons of ferrous scrap and 8 million tons of nonferrous scrap, and exported nearly 44 million tons of processed materials including iron and steel, aluminum, nickel and stainless steel, copper, paper, plastics, lead, zinc, rubber and electronics...Read More »



California Lawmakers Approve Bill to Block San Diego Landfill

The developers of a landfill north of San Diego, CA received a major setback as lawmakers in Sacramento passed legislation to block the project. In doing so, the lawmakers overruled the county Board of Supervisors, the courts and two public votes in favor of the Gregory Canyon landfill along state Route 76 and near the Pala Indian Reservation. Lawmakers behind the bill argue that it was necessary to preserve a Native American cultural site and to protect the San Luis Rey River from possible contamination. Never mind that the proposed site is less than two miles from the tribal-owned Pala Casino, which evidently does not threaten Indian cultural heritage. In an interview, Gregory Canyon Ltd. spokeswoman Nancy Chase said the company will urge California governor Jerry Brown to veto the legislation. "The ultimate message is the voters have spoken and the Legislature should not interfere with local control," she said...Read More »



Ohio Landfill Wins Permit to Expand to 8,000 Tons per Day

A privately owned landfill in Ohio, which receives much of its waste via rail from the northeast, has received permission from the Ohio EPA to expand its daily intake of waste and its footprint. Ohio EPA granted Tunnel Hill Partners LP, whose landfill is about 60 miles east of Columbus, its final waste and water discharge permits allowing both lateral and vertical expansion of the 544-acre facility. The new permit allows it to expand its approved disposal area by 69 acres to 118 acres. The permit also increases the maximum daily intake from 5,000 tons to 8,000 tons. At that rate, the landfill would be full in 11.5 years without further expansion of the disposal area...Read More »



Harvest Power Buys Soil and Mulch Company

Harvest Power (Waltham, MA), which creates renewable energy and fertilizer products from organic waste, has acquired Coastal Supply Co. Inc., a Delaware-based soil and mulch manufacturer. Harvest Power plans to integrate Coastal's network of manufacturing facilities for bagged soils, mulches and stone that it sells to customers such as Lowe's and The Home Depot. Coastal's products support more than 1 million gardens throughout 14 states. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "This acquisition is an integral part of Harvest's commitment to continue expanding our organics operating system," said Paul Sellew, CEO of Harvest Power. Waste Management (Houston, TX) invested in Harvest Power beginning in January 2010, joining other investors...Read More »



EPA Says it Has Broad Discretion to Delay Boiler MACT

The EPA says it has "broad discretion" to delay rules under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) as it is urging a federal court to dismiss environmentalists' lawsuit against its stay of rules for boilers and incinerators. The agency says its authority to issue the stay of the boiler and incinerator air rules means that the court should deny Sierra Club's motion for summary judgment and instead grant EPA's Aug. 25 cross-motion for summary judgment to dismiss the suit. In a separate Aug. 25 brief, Sierra Club urges the court to deny EPA's bid to dismiss the suit.

The litigation, originally filed in July, challenges the agency's May 18 notice in the Federal Register to use APA authority to stay implementation of its final boiler maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule and an emissions rule for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators (CISWI). EPA stayed the rules due to a rare self-imposed reconsideration aimed at addressing industry's claims of flaws in the rules that make them unachievable. Sierra Club's suit challenges EPA's authority for issuing the stay, and a win for activists scrapping the stay of the air rules could force the agency to implement the regulations even while the reconsideration continues...Read More »



Pennsylvania Landfill Allowed to Increase Daily Tonnage

A large Pennsylvania landfill has been granted permission by the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to increase its waste acceptance rate by an additional 1,000 tons per day. That allows the Cumberland County Landfill, owned by Interstate Waste Services, to expand to 2,500 tons per day on average with a maximum tonnage on any particular day to increase from 1,950 to 2,950 tons. "Prior to approving this permit, DEP conducted thorough assessments and examinations of the landfill site, the haul route and citizen safety," DEP South-central Regional Director Rachel Diamond said. "We have concluded that the proposed mitigation measures will adequately protect the environment and the public's health and safety." Of concern was the safety of the nearby Amish community, who use horse-drawn buggies, carts and scooters, and students attending an Amish school along the haul route. As a remedy, the company will employ a transportation compliance plan that requires a one-minute interval between transfer trailers traveling to and from the landfill...Read More »



Harvest Power Raises another $1.3 Million in Funding

Harvest Power (Waltham, MA), a developer of technology for recycling organic waste materials into soils, fertilizer, energy, and engineered fuels, has raised an additional $1.3 million in venture capital, according to a new filing by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While the filing doesn't identify them by name, previous backers include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Generation Investment Management, Munich Venture Partners and Waste Management, among others. In May, those investors added $6.3 million to $51.7 million financing raised in March, making the company's Series B round worth $58 million in total. Founded in 2008, Harvest Power is building what it calls North America's first commercial-scale, high solids anaerobic digestion facility, Fraser Richmond Soil & Fibre, located at a site in the Vancouver, BC...Read More »


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