Weekly News Bulletin: Sep. 27-Oct. 3, 2011


Bipartisan Bills to Delay EPA Air Rules Gaining Support

Some Democrats and activists are worried about bills with bipartisan support moving through Congress that would indefinitely delay boiler emissions rules, including EPA's maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards for industrial boilers and related rules effecting units burning biomass. The Senate bill (S. 1392) to stall the boiler emissions rules and related rules, has the support of 10 Democrats led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). A similar House bill, H.R. 2250, would postpone compliance dates for the boiler and related emissions rules. That bill cleared a House Energy & Commerce Committee markup on Sept. 21 on a 36-14 vote, along with H.R. 2681, a bill that would delay compliance with EPA's final air toxics rule for cement plants, which passed on a 33-12 vote.

Among the legislation's opponents is Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who is chair of the Environment & Public Works Committee. She has been trying to resolve other Democrats' concerns over EPA's air toxics rules in an effort to persuade them to drop their support for the legislation which she and others believe would weaken the Clean Air Act (CAA)...Read More »



Dallas to Vote on Controversial Flow Control Measure

The City of Dallas City Council votes today on a flow control measure that would require all waste generated in the city to be dumped at the city's McCommas Bluff Landfill or one of the city's transfer stations. The city sees the plan, which would direct an additional 900,000 tons per year of waste to its landfill, as an opportunity to enhance its recycling rates and energy recovery, both from increased landfill gas and later from gasifying a portion of the non-recoverable waste. It would also mean about $15 million more per year in revenue for the city. The plan is strongly opposed by private industry which argues that requiring haulers to drive the longer distance and pay the higher disposal fee charged by the city will cost local businesses and consumers an additional $19 million per year. The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) calls this a "ghost tax" and argues that flow control will create inefficiencies by directing waste away from a dozen or so area landfills that could be closer, and in turn, increases truck traffic, fuel use, and pollution. "Common sense tells you that trucking garbage farther to one of the area's most expensive landfills or paying an exorbitant tipping fee at a transfer station will increase costs," says Tom Brown, Texas Chapter President of the NSWMA. Brown argues that flow control violates the city Mayor's pledge not to raise costs to businesses. "We are asking Mayor Rawlings to be honest with our industry and our 17,000 customers and keep his pledge not to raise the cost of doing business in Dallas," said Brown.

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 facility would 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 andenergy recovery techniques...Read More »



Waste Management Sues New Orleans Landfill Company

The saga surrounding a closed New Orleans landfill and accusations of political chicanery unfolds as the owner of that landfill is suing a rival company for employing "dirty tricks," bribing public officials and abusing the political process to shut down competition. According to an Associated Press article, Waste Management of Louisiana has filed a lawsuit claiming that River Birch Inc. and its owners engaged in "unfair competition and outright corruption" to thwart its rivals for debris disposal work after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. Waste Management claims that it had to close its eastern New Orleans Chef Menteur Landfill after River Birch engaged in "improper influence" over the landfill approval and permitting process. The lawsuit says River Birch financed "sham lawsuits" and financed a "wide-ranging public opposition campaign" against its landfill. The suit also claims River Birch bribed Henry Mouton, a former Louisiana wildlife official who pleaded guilty in June for accepting more than $463,000 for his work in trying to keep Waste Management's landfill closed. Separately, Waste Management's suit says that River Birch used its influence to rig a $160 million disposal contract with nearby Jefferson Parish. It calls Aaron Broussard, who resigned as parish president last January, a "co-conspirator" in the alleged bid-rigging plot. Waste Management's lawsuit seeks at least $50 million in compensatory damages plus unspecified punitive damages and attorneys' fees and costs...Read More »



$20 Million Landfill-gas-to-Energy Project Opens to Help Power Marine Base

Chevron Energy Solutions, a unit of Chevron Corp., announced the opening of a 1.9 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) project for the Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) in Albany GA which represents the US Navy's first landfill gas cogeneration plant. Under a 20-year contract, Chevron Energy will pipe landfill gas from the nearby Fleming/Gaissert Road Landfill to the MCLB where it will be converted into electricity that is expected to meet 22 percent of the base's needs. The gas project goes a long way toward meeting the Navy's renewable energy goals, especially since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 orders the federal government, to the extent that is economically and technically feasible, to meet 7.5 percent of its electricity needs with renewable energy sources by 2013. "This project offers significant benefits to the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps and Dougherty County," said Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, MCLB Albany. "Chevron Energy Solutions has helped us surpass federal renewable energy goals in our pursuit of becoming the 'greenest' Marine Corps installation in the nation."...Read More »



Waste Management Opens $11 Million Organics Facility in California

Waste Management (Houston, TX) announced the opening of an $11 million organics processing and transfer facility in San Leandro, CA that will process 150,000 tons of yard and food waste per year. The 35,000 square-foot building is certified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold and houses state-of-the-art equipment that includes biofilters and high-speed doors to contain odors and day lighting via translucent panels and solar tubes. The building's green features include mechanically stabilized embankment walls made from 100 percent recycled aggregate. In constructing the building, 95 percent of the waste was recycled, 40 percent of the materials were sourced locally and 20 percent came from recycled sources...Read More »



Fulcrum BioEnergy Files for IPO of Up to $115 Million for Waste-to-Fuels Plant

Fulcrum BioEnergy (Pleasanton, CA) has filed plans to raise up to $115 million in an initial public offering aimed at funding its first commercial scale waste-to-ethanol plant being constructed near Reno, NV. The company said its proprietary technology allows it to convert municipal solid waste (MSW) into ethanol, a biofuel that has come under increasing pressure in the U.S. due to rising corn prices and threats to federal subsidies. The essentially free cost of MSW gives Fulcrum an edge over competitors using traditional feedstocks such as corn, sugarcane and other commodities sensitive to price swings, the company said in filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Fulcrum has already entered into long-term, zero-cost contracts with Waste Connections (Folsom, CA) and Waste Management (Houston, TX) for enough municipal solid waste to produce more than 700 million gallons of ethanol a year. The company said its first commercial-scale facility could produce about 10 million gallons of ethanol per year for less than $1.30 a gallon after the sale of renewable energy credits and other co-products.

Its Sierra biofuels plant would begin production in the second half of 2013 and reach full capacity within three years. The core element of its technology has been demonstrated at full scale, according to the company...Read More »



Georgia Army Base will Employ Novel Landfill Gas-to-Energy Plant

Turbine manufacturer FlexEnergy, Inc. (Irvine, CA) said it has successfully installed its first commercial landfill gas biomethane generator, at the Department of Defense's (DoD) Fort Benning, GA, Army base. Its Flex Powerstation, which is capable of running on relatively low quality gas, will convert landfill gas into enough electricity to power the equivalent of 250 homes. FlexEnergy's technology was selected for Fort Benning by Southern Research Institute under a demonstration program funded by the DoD Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. The program seeks innovative and cost-effective technologies to address its high-priority environmental and energy requirements. "FlexEnergy is proud to be serving future generations by providing energy for our nation's security operations, while protecting the nation's environmental air quality," said FlexEnergy Inc CEO Joe Perry. "Instead of venting or flaring waste gases from landfills, our Flex Powerstation enables customers to turn those methane gases into energy and solve environmental problems associated with methane at the same time."...Read More »



Covanta Increases Stock Buyback Program by $100 Million

Covanta Holding Corp. (Morristown, NJ) said that its board of directors has authorized an additional $100 million in share repurchases, bringing the total authorized amount to $400 million. The energy from waste company has already bought back more than 13.5 million shares, representing 8.8% of its stock, between the third quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011 at a cost of about $219 million. "Today's announcement demonstrates our commitment to continue to actively return capital to shareholders in the absence of any immediate investment needs for core growth opportunities. We believe that our dividend and stock repurchase programs are important aspects of our continued efforts to enhance shareholder value," said Sanjiv Khattri, Covanta's Executive Vice President and CFO...Read More »



Covanta to Release Third Quarter Results on Oct. 19

Covanta Holding Corp. (Morristown, NJ) plans to announce its third quarter results after the close of the market on Wednesday, October 19. The company will host a conference call the following morning at 8 am (Eastern) to discuss those results...Read More »


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