Weekly News Bulletin: Sep. 20-26, 2011


Company Proposes $100 Million Recycling Facility if Dallas Employs Flow Control

The City of Dallas, Texas is engaged in a debate over the city's plan to employ flow control to direct all residential and commercial waste to its own landfill as a means to enhance its recycling and energy recovery programs. Meanwhile, an innovative recycling company is proposing to build and operate its own $100 million recycling facility located at the city's landfill that would capture 95 percent of the recyclable material received. The company, Organic Energy Corporation (OEC), said it could finance the facility with the city's commitment to provide the waste. In return, it would share revenues with the city on a 50/50 basis. That could equate to between $5 million and $20 million annually in added revenue for the city. "Dallas brings 6,000 tons of garbage every day to the Landfill", says Barney Gorey, VP of Public Affairs for OEC. "Even with the curbside recycling program over 3,500 of those tons are recyclable products which can be captured and sold." OEC's facilitywould employ existing technologies in configurations modeled after plants in Europe. The company also said it would create jobs and stimulate the local economy perhaps acting as a laboratory for advanced materials recovery and energy recovery techniques.

Critics of the proposal, led by The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), take issue with the city's plan to employ flow control, arguing that it is tantamount to a "ghost tax" in the form of higher hauling and disposal fees that will result. NSWMA argues that "flow control would prevent commercial waste in Dallas from being equitably distributed and disposed of near the areas where it is created and in the most cost efficient manner possible," said Tom Brown, president of the association's Texas Chapter...Read More »



More Industry Criticism of EPA's Waste Definition Rule

Industry criticism is growing against the Obama administration's proposed revisions to EPA's Bush-era definition of solid waste (DSW) as chemical manufacturing and scrap recycling industries becoming the latest to complain that the revised rule would be too costly. The Obama EPA proposed July 6 to amend the Bush-era DSW rule, which relaxed certain waste management requirements on industry in the interest of promoting recycling. The new proposal, which follows a lawsuit from environmentalists and complaints from state regulators that the Bush-era rule is too lax, would tighten many of the requirements. Industry groups, including the National Mining Association (NMA) and American Petroleum Institute (API), and now the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) expressed shock that EPA would no longer exclude so-called 'tolling" where a reclaimer or processor operates on the site of the waste generator. EPA had previouslyagreed that tolling arrangements ensure that there is no discard since the hazardous secondary materials remain under the control of the generator. If EPA removes the exclusion, contractors conducting reclamation may need to obtain storage permits under Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) rules...Read More »



Industry Lines up to Oppose California Landfill Restriction

A number of industry groups and two California counties are lining up in support of the Potrero Hills Landfill and Solano County, CA in their battle with environmental groups that have sued to prevent the landfill from continuing to accept out-of-county waste. The case is significant because of its implications to other communities across the country that might also seek to restrict waste imports or seek further justification for doing so, and for the landfill's owner Waste Connections (Folsom, CA), which made a $100 million investment in the landfill when it bought it from Republic Services in March 2009. About that time, several organizations, including the Sierra Club, filed lawsuits seeking to block the landfill from expanding by asking the Court to recognize a never-enforced 19-year-old voter initiative called Measure E that restricts any Solano County landfill from accepting more than 95,000 tons per year of waste from outside the county. Potrero Hills receives about 850,000 tons per year of waste from surrounding counties. Waste Connections had to appeal the case when a Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Measure E in May last year.

In support of the company are a number of industry groups led by the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), which this week filed an amicus brief in the Court of Appeal for the State of California arguing that Measure E was never enforced in part because the county believed it to be unconstitutional and that it "creates a dangerous precedent that could lead to a patchwork of discriminatory and protectionist solid waste bans from cities and counties across the country, thereby harming the national infrastructure, economy and public health," said NSWMA President and CEO Bruce Parker in a statement. David Biderman, general counsel for the association, added, "For decades, U.S. courts have struck down protectionist barriers such as this Solano County measure as incompatible with the Commerce Clause. Measure E isolates Solano County from waste originating in other parts of California and in other states. We urge the California Court of Appeals to strike down this unconstitutional law."...Read More »



South Carolina High Court Affirms County's Flow Control

The South Carolina Supreme Court has issued a ruling that affirms Horry County's flow control ordinance mandating that waste generated within the county be taken to the county's landfill. Private haulers with operations outside of the county filed a $25 million federal lawsuit against the county and the county's solid waste authority following the passage of its flow control ordinance in 2009. The plaintiffs, including Sandlands C&D Landfill and Express Waste Haulers argued that the county had created a monopoly since it was the only county in the state with flow control. The county countered that flow control was necessary to assure fees at its landfill, needed to help pay for recycling programs, and to protect the county and its citizens from the potential liability of contaminating out-of-county landfills. In its unanimous ruling, the high court said the county had the right to pass the ordinance, and that the state's Solid Waste Policy and Management Act of 1991 does not prohibit county regulation of solid waste management...Read More »



WM Begins Constructing $13 Million Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project in Quebec

Waste Management (Houston, TX) has begun construction of a $13 million landfill-gas-to-energy (LFGTE) facility near Drummondville in Quebec, Canada. The facility, expected to operational by December 2012, will generate 7.6 megawatts of electricity utilizing methane from Waste Management's 2,000 ton-per-day Saint-Nicephore landfill. The electricity produced will be enough to power 6,500 homes and will be sold to Hydro-Quebec. That deal followed a public bidding process in which the project was selected for its environmental benefits and energy efficiency. The average price of the winning bids was 11.2 cents per kilowatt hour. The new energy facility will be a part of larger environmental and energy complex which will include an eco-center, a construction and demolition material facility, a new environmentally engineered landfill area and an organics processing facility. Waste Management boasts having 115 landfill gas-to-energy projects in North America, including two in nearby Ontario...Read More »



Court to Rule on EPA Effort to Dismiss Suit over Boiler MACT Stay

A federal district court is expected to decide whether to dismiss a lawsuit filed by activists challenging EPA's decision to stay its contested air rules for boilers. In its lawsuit "Sierra Club v. EPA" filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Sierra Club wants the court to strike down EPA's stay of the boiler maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rule and a related emissions rule for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators (CISWI). EPA stayed the rules to reconsider them and address industry claims that the rules are flawed and unachievable. Sierra Club argues that EPA lacks authority for the indefinite stay under the Clean Air Act because section 307(b) of the law limits stays to three months, and that the stay violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because EPA did not seek notice and comment on the stay before issuing it earlier this year after finalizing the air rules. EPA is asking the court to dismiss the suit, which it argues isbeing handled in the wrong court and should instead be filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia which has jurisdiction over challenges to agency regulations. Regardless, EPA argues the stay is valid because the APA gives it "broad discretion" for doing so...Read More »



Enerkem Finds Buyer of Methanol from its Waste-to-Fuels Plant

Montreal-based Enerkem Inc., which is developing waste-to-biofuels and chemicals projects, said it has signed an agreement under which Methanex Corp., will buy methanol to be produced at Enerkem's new Edmonton production plant. "Our ability to produce methanol from non-recyclable solid waste, along with access to Methanex's worldwide distribution network, represents a timely opportunity to develop our commercial activities," Enerkem CEO Vincent Chornet said. Enerkem converts municipal solid waste into chemical-grade syngas and then methanol and other chemicals and intermediates. It operates a commercial plant in Quebec and is building a full-scale production plant in Edmonton. Waste Management (Houston, TX) and others have invested in the company...Read More »



EPA Unveils Plan to Incorporate Environmental Justice in its Policies

The US EPA has released its plan for incorporating environmental justice (EJ) into all aspects of agency decisions, including regulations, permits, policies and other work. The agency's "Plan EJ 2014," released Sept. 14, aims to protect health in communities over-burdened by pollution; empower them to take action to improve their health and environment; and establish partnerships with local, state, tribal and federal organizations to achieve healthy and sustainable communities, EPA says. EPA notes the plan is not a rule or regulation but "a strategy to help integrate environmental justice into EPA's day to day activities." Its origin is Executive Order 12898, the 1994 Clinton-era document elevating EJ in decisions. Plan EJ 2014 cites Jackson's 2010 decision to make equity a priority, including overhauling the office that handles Civil Rights Act complaints. "This priority recognizes that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and EPA's civil rights program is a critical component in advancing environmental justice," the plan's executive summary says. Under permitting, Plan EJ 2014 says EPA will develop and implement tools to enhance participation by overburdened communities...Read More »



Peoria Disposal to Deploy 12 CNG Trucks and Fueling Station

Peoria Disposal Company (PDC) (Peoria, IL) plans to acquire a fleet of 12 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) trucks and is partnering with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (Seal Beach, CA) that will build a CNG fueling station to service them. The fueling station will be located at PDC's headquarters but will be available to other commercial businesses in the area, said company vice president Matt Coulter. "Our investment in CNG confirms our commitment to exceed stringent standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and, ultimately, rewards the Peoria community with cleaner fuel and cleaner air," he said. The CNG-trucks are expected to go into service for PDC in late October, said Coulter...Read More »


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