Weekly News Bulletin: Oct. 4-10, 2011


All Industry Eyes on Dallas Vote to Impose Flow Control

In a move that could have far reaching impacts on the waste industry, the City of Dallas has passed a flow control measure that will require all waste generated in the city to be dumped at the city's giant McCommas Bluff Landfill or one of the city's transfer stations. The measure is expected to drive another 900,000 tons of waste per year to the city's landfill resulting in an additional revenue stream of $15 million per year to the city. Other municipalities that own their own waste facilities are watching Dallas closely to see if the model is applicable to them. Meanwhile, the measure will likely be challenged in court by private industry which was opposed to it from the beginning. Leading the charge is The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), which represents private waste haulers, which calls flow control a "ghost tax" that will result in $19 million in added costs to local businesses and consumers who will see rate increases from haulers that are required to drive much further distances and pay higher tipping fees to use the city's landfill.

The door to flow control was reopened by the US Supreme Court in April, 2007 when it ruled on United Haulers Association v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority in upstate New York. There, the court ruled 6-3, amending its earlier 1994 Carbone ruling which outlawed flow control as an imposition on interstate commerce, by making the distinction between a facility that is publicly owned. The court held that a government could show preference for itself if it served a public good.

However, private industry will likely argue that the public good is not being served in Dallas by flow control and that the burden on commerce will exceed the public benefit...Read More »



Waste Management Elevates Former Oakleaf CEO to New Position

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) has promoted Steven Preston, formerly head of Oakleaf Waste, which Waste Management acquired in July, to the newly created position of Executive Vice President, Finance, Recycling & Energy Services. The appointment affirms the company's confidence in Mr. Preston while also indicating the importance of the company's customer-centric strategic realignment. As head of Oakleaf, Preston ran a business that provided its customers with one-stop shopping and auditing for their waste and recycling needs across different geographies. Similarly, Waste Management, like its competitors, has been increasingly focusing on customer service to boost retaining them in a rising price environment. The company has also been expanding its recycling, composting, alternative energy and medical waste businesses to meet a wider range of customers' needs.

In his new role, Preston will have management oversight responsibility for the company's recycling, waste-to-energy and organic growth business lines. He will also serve as the principal financial officer for the company as he assumes the duties of former Chief Financial Officer Robert S. Simpson, who retired on Sept. 30.

"Steve has a wide range of experience that will immediately add value at Waste Management," CEO David P. Steiner said in a statement. "Steve has previously served as the chief financial officer of a public company and held high positions in the George W. Bush administration, so he brings to WM strong financial management as well as operational leadership experience."

Preston was secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2008 to 2009 and administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2006 to 2008...Read More »



Republic Invests $20 to Modernize Country's Largest Recycling Facility

Republic Services, Inc. (Phoenix, AZ) is investing $20 million to modernize its Anaheim, CA single-stream material recovery facility (MRF). The CVT Regional Material Recovery Facility is a hybrid, typical of California, in that it handles both mixed municipal solid waste (MSW) and clean recyclables. It is also one of the largest MRFs in North America handling a total volume of 4,800 tons of waste per day in an enormous 250,000 square-foot facility. It is permitted to process 6,000 tons per day. Republic acquired the original facility from Taormina Industries in 1998. The company is investing in a new sorting system featuring patented screens and optical detection technology designed by Bulk Handling Systems to improve operations, recovery and boost capacity to 50 tons per hour from 20 tons per hour currently. The system features a comprehensive Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) electrical control package that will allow real-time management and control of the process to maintainoptimal performance.

"These improvements are the first, of a two-phased modernization project intended to further advance Republic's mission to improve the environment and help its customers reach their sustainability goals," said Jim Ambroso, area president. "The advanced technology will play a critical role in the management of solid waste and recyclables in Southern California."

The first phase of the two-phase project is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. The second phase should begin in 2012 and will include a complete retooling of the facility's commercial sorting lines...Read More »



Work Begins on 3 MW Solar Array atop New Jersey Landfill

Work has begun constructing a 3-megawatt solar array atop the 1A Landfill in Bergen County, NJ. By the time it is complete at the end of the year, the company SunDurance Energy (Edison, NJ) will have installed 12,500 panels on a 30-acre portion of the site. It will produce enough electricity to power 450 to 675 single-family homes. The company will then sell the project to Public Service Enterprise Group, the parent company of the New Jersey's largest utility. PSEG will make rent payments to the landfill's owner, the state Meadowlands Commission, beginning with $160,000 in the first year and increasing to $280,000 at the end of the 20-year lease. The commission has proposed partnering with PSEG to develop other solar projects on nearby closed landfills, such as the Erie Landfill in North Arlington and the 1E Landfill near Kearny.

SunDurance Energy develops, designs, builds and operates megawatt-scale solar power solutions for commercial & industrial, federal government and utility-scale markets. It is a division of The Conti Group, an infrastructure development firm with interests in construction and engineering services, environmental remediation, infrastructure, security, power & industrial, venture capital and renewable energy, including solar, wind, and biofuels...Read More »



Clean Utilities Defend New EPA Air Rules, Draw Ire of Republicans

A group of House Republicans is criticizing a coalition of "clean" utilities for defending EPA against claims that its recent suite of utility rules, including new air toxics standards, will hurt the economy and decrease the reliability of the electric grid. A group of 14 House Republicans sent a letter on Sept. 22 to The Clean Energy Group (CEG), a coalition of utility companies with investments in lower-emitting "clean" energy sources such as natural gas and nuclear power, charging that its "advocacy for these rules is rooted neither in concern for public health nor for the environment, but in rent seeking. These rules will confer on your companies -- which predominantly generate electricity from natural gas and nuclear power -- a competitive advantage in the marketplace at the expense of consumers," according to the letter...Read More »



President's Deficit Plan Calls for Higher EPA Program Fees

President Obama has proposed a deficit reduction plan to Congress' budget "super committee" that would boost fees EPA collects through various programs, reinstate the Superfund tax and establish a national infrastructure bank. Republicans favor the plan's intent to accelerate the permitting process for infrastructure projects, but object to an infrastructure bank.

Obama on Sept. 19 released detailed recommendations for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, titled "Living Within Our Means and Investing In the Future," which focuses on reforming the tax code, drawing down military troops and cutting $580 billion in mandatory spending. Mandatory spending largely covers entitlement programs, while discretionary spending covers EPA's appropriations funding. The plan includes three EPA-specific efforts aimed at saving millions of dollars: increasing the charges that pesticide registrants must pay, lifting a cap on fees from chemical manufacturers seeking to market new chemicals, and establishing a Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste electronic manifest system...Read More »



Bill Proposes National Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program

A bill has been introduced that would create a mandatory, industry-financed national take-back program for the return of unused pharmaceuticals. The Pharmaceutical Stewardship Act of 2011 (HR 2939), introduced Sept. 15 by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), would create a nonprofit private corporation that pharmaceutical makers and brand owners would join and which would design industry-funded programs to take-back drugs in counties and municipalities across the country. "The need for a safe drug disposal system has never been greater," Slaughter said in a press release, adding that the bill would "help solve this serious environmental, public health, and public safety concerns by providing Americans with a convenient way to safely dispose of unneeded prescription drugs."

Under the bill, manufacturers and brand owners would be required to either become part of an EPA-approved national program or other EPA-approved programs comprising one or more drug makers or sellers. Collected pharmaceuticals would be incinerated. The programs would be funded by participating companies and fines of up to $50,000 per day from those who fail to do so...Read More »



Republic Fires Up Solar Landfill Cover in Georgia

Republic Services, Inc. (Phoenix, AZ) has begun operating a 1 megawatt, 45-acre flexible solar energy cover atop a now closed landfill site in Atlanta, GA. Republic boasts that its solar project on its Hickory Ridge landfill is the world's largest landfill solar energy cap and only the third application of this solar landfill technology in the country.

"This is a technologically advanced solution that is actually very simple at its core," said Bob Boucher, senior vice president, operations for Republic. "Given the choice of covering the site with clay and soil, or flexible solar panels, we made the choice that not only caps the landfill with an environmentally safe technology but also produces enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 224 homes."

Republic first demonstrated the technology last year at a smaller site in San Antonio, TX. Ultimately, the company wants solar caps become a legitimate and compelling alternative to closing landfills using traditional methods that employ layers of dirt and vegetation...Read More »



Progressive Waste to Report Third Quarter Results on Oct. 25

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (Toronto, ON) plans to report its third quarter financial results after the market closes on Tuesday, October 25. The company will host a conference call the following day at 8:30 a.m. (EDT)...Read More »


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