Weekly News Bulletin: Oct. 25-31, 2011


Progressive Waste Q3 Profit Higher but Weakened by Northeast

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (Toronto, ON) posted positive third quarter results, although profits were slightly less than expected owing to weaker market conditions in the Northeast, which the company says are likely to persist for the rest of the year. Net income for the quarter rose to $40.3 million, or $0.33 per share, from $23.9 million, or $0.20 per share, a year ago. Quarterly revenue rose about 12 percent to $490.5 million. However, adjusted net income for the quarter was $35.1 million or $0.29 per share, compared to $32.5 million or $0.27 per share last year. Analysts had expected $0.32 per share. Progressive Waste provides non-hazardous solid waste collection and disposal services in over 12 states in the U.S., and in six Canadian provinces...Read More »



EPA Plans to Clarify Biomass as a Fuel Not a Waste

EPA is planning to revise its regulation defining biomass as a fuel subject to its boiler air toxics rule rather than a waste subject to stricter emissions limits for incinerators. On Oct. 14 in a letter to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said her agency will revise its rule defining which non-hazardous secondary materials are considered solid waste when burned in combustion units to define biomass as fuel, as part of broader revisions to its stayed boiler maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule and strict emissions limits for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators (CISWI).

Jackson said that the pending biomass definition rulemaking -- which the agency is yet to launch -- "would provide certainty to industry by codifying provisions to avoid creating disincentives for burning clean materials, such as biomass, for fuel, while preserving the public-health protections required by the Clean Air Act."...Read More »



Covanta Q3 Profit Rises on Recycled Metals Prices and Volumes

Covanta Holding Corp. (Morristown, NJ) surprised analysts with better-than-expected third quarter results fueled by strong pricing for recycled metals and growth in its construction business. Consequently, the company raised its profit outlook for the year to 45-55 cents per share, excluding special items, from 40-55 cents a share, forecast earlier. For the quarter, earnings rose to $49 million, or 35 cents a share, from $10 million, or 7 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 7 percent to $432 million...Read More »



EPA Plans to Issue Rules Covering Fracking Wastewater

The EPA, in response to increasing concerns about potential groundwater contamination, said it would develop standards for disposing of waste water from natural-gas drilling operations, particularly the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves injecting large amounts of water and chemicals deep underground to free natural gas trapped in shale formations. Much of that water, often laden with salt and chemicals and known as "flowback," returns to the surface and requires disposal. Some waste water is reused or injected into underground wells, while some is sent to waste-water treatment plants. In a statement, the EPA said many treatment plants "are not properly equipped to treat this type of waste water," and said it would consider standards that must be met before water can be sent to a treatment facility. EPA said it would propose rules by 2014. The issue has come under increased public scrutiny recently, especially as fracking operations have moved eastward into more populated states like Pennsylvania. The move comes as the EPA's regulatory agenda faces wide criticism from industry and GOP lawmakers who say the agency's rules are hampering the economic recovery and impeding the development of domestic oil and gas. In announcing its effort, the EPA tried to blunt the criticism by praising natural gas and promising that any new industry requirements would be based on "economically achievable technologies."...Read More »



Waste Management Challenges Jefferson Parish Decision

Waste Management is challenging the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana Council in court to explain why it chose to begin contract negotiations with IESI Corp. to operate its landfill. Waste Management is seeking a court order barring the parish from signing a contract with IESI arguing that the council made an "arbitrary and capricious" decision to do so, especially since Waste Management's proposal received a higher score from a parish evaluation committee. According to an article in the New Orleans' Times-Picayune, attorneys for the parish contend that questions about the decision-making process are barred by the "privileges and immunities clause" in the state Constitution. Attorneys for Waste Management, which has run the parish landfill for the last 25 years, said the clause does not apply to local legislative entities.

The effort to block the IESI deal is the latest development in a protracted controversy about the parish's waste disposal plans, beginning with the 2009 approval of a 25-year, $160 million contract with the neighboring River Birch landfill. The parish is seeking a court order invalidating the River Birch deal, which is under federal investigation...Read More »



EPA Faces Challenge to Considering Environmental Justice in DSW Rule

Industry and state regulators are challenging EPA's use of environmental justice (EJ) analysis to strengthen its definition of solid waste (DSW) rule, by arguing that it is irrelevant and cannot legally be used to craft regulations. However, environmental groups that sued EPA over its current DSW rule say equity analysis proves the necessity of a stricter rule. EPA on July 6 proposed to amend the current DSW rule, first issued under the Bush administration in 2008, which relaxes certain waste management requirements to promote recycling. The rule generally defines when wastes are considered "solid wastes" subject to weaker control requirements and, by implication, when they are considered "hazardous" and subject to more stringent requirements. Along with the proposed revision to the DSW rule, EPA also released an equity analysis, to detail how the current rule impacts low-income and minority communities. The analysis is one of the first that EPA has conducted to assess the impact of its rules and represents a major priority for agency Administrator Lisa Jackson...Read More »



Pressure Builds for US to Ban E-Waste Exports

The US will likely face increased pressure to adopt the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the export of hazardous waste, including electronic waste (e-waste) and obsolete ships to developing countries, as 178 countries agreed to allow it into law. The deal, brokered Oct. 21 by Indonesia and Switzerland, was strongly promoted by developing countries, China, the European Union and several nonprofits that were gathered in Colombia for the 10th Conference of the Parties of the Basel Convention. It must also be ratified by 68 of the 90 countries that were parties to the 1995 convention. 51 of those have already done so. "The U.S. government has never embraced the Ban (amendment), unlike Europe, and now if it comes into force before they ratify the convention, when they do ratify it the convention will have been amended to include the Ban and they will have to accept it," Jim Puckett, executive director of environmental group Basel Action Network, said...Read More »



Entergy Corp. Buys Landfill GHG Credits from Big New York Landfill

Entergy Corporation (New Orleans, LA) said it is buying 137,000 tons of greenhouse gas reduction credits from the Seneca Meadows Landfill in upstate New York, owned by Progressive Waste Solutions, Ltd. The 6,000 ton-per-day landfill is the largest in the state. Methane from the landfill feeds a 17.6 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy plant that produces enough electricity to power nearly 20,000 homes. "Entergy is proud to help support the efforts of Seneca Meadows to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York," said Brent Dorsey, Entergy's director of corporate environmental programs. This is Entergy's second purchase of greenhouse gas reduction credits from Seneca Meadows in 2011. Entergy's latest purchase represents the equivalent of taking more than 24,000 vehicles off the road for one year. The previous purchase, announced in July, was for nearly 35,000 tons. The greenhouse gas credits were registered through Winrock International's nonprofit American Carbon Registry, a voluntary offset program with strong environmental integrity standards. New York-based Environmental Capital LLC arranged and brokered the transaction...Read More »



Covanta Launches New E-Waste Subsidiary ECOvanta

Covanta Energy Corp. (Morristown, NJ) has launched a new subsidiary called ECOvanta to recycle used electronics (e-waste). ECOvanta's first facility is in Philadelphia and will employ a combination of manual disassembly together with an automated shredding system to separate materials into commodities for recycling. The facility has been audited and recommended to receive the R2 and ISO 14001:2004 certifications for proper e-waste recycling. The company in turn audits its downstream vendors to ensure they too are recycling properly. Like its parent company, ECOvanta will also offer secure destruction services, especially for equipment that could include sensitive data. "We are excited to be launching this new venture into e-waste recycling," said Seth Myones, Covanta Americas president. "It is a growing market, and we see a great opportunity to a provide proper, responsible way to recycle and dispose of these materials as more and more people become aware of its importance."...Read More »



Santek Buys Two Chattanooga Area Companies

Santek Waste Services, Inc. (Cleveland, TN) has bought two waste companies to strengthen its market presence in the southeast. The deal includes City Disposal Services LLC (CDS) and Chattanooga Transfer LLC and brings with it CDS's residential, commercial and industrial waste collection customers as well as a transfer station in Chattanooga, TN. Financial details were not disclosed. Also as part of the deal, Santek will manage a construction and demolition landfill in Harrison, TN called Environmental Materials, LLC, which is owned by CDS owner Ray Marler. "Our merger with City Disposal is a natural extension of our existing service area and will give us a more dominant presence in the Chattanooga-North Georgia market," said Santek President Edward Caylor. He said the company is evaluating other opportunities "which are strategic to our landfill partnerships with local governments."...Read More »



Oklahoma Landfill Supplies Energy to Brick Kilns

A WCA landfill in Wewoka, Oklahoma is now supplying methane gas to a nearby brick maker. The Wewoka Biogas Project, which broke ground in July, is now providing methane from the Sooner Landfill to one of Commercial Brick Corp.'s four kilns. William Brinker, operations manager for project developer Enerdyne Power Systems Inc., said the project helps Commercial Brick to reduce its energy costs and WCA to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The project was partly financed by the selling of carbon offset credits to eBay, Esurance, Designtex, Ceres, Brighter Planet, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and others. NativeEnergy which specializes in verified carbon offsets and renewable energy credits, arranged the sale...Read More »



WCA Waste to Report Q3 Results on Oct. 26

WCA Waste Corp. (Houston, TX) will report its third quarter earnings on Wednesday, October 26 following the close of the market. The company will host a conference call the following day at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern) to discuss those results. WCA Waste provides waste collection, processing and disposal services through a network of 25 landfills, 27 transfer stations and material recovery facilities, and 29 collection operations in fourteen states from Texas to Massachusetts...Read More »



Clean Harbors to Report Q3 Results on Nov. 2

Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) will announce third quarter earnings during a company hosted conference call on Wednesday, November 2 at 9 a.m. (Eastern). Clean Harbors provides environmental, energy and industrial services from more than 175 locations, including over 50 waste management facilities, throughout North America in 38 U.S. states, seven Canadian provinces, Mexico and Puerto Rico...Read More »



US Ecology to Report Q3 Results on Nov. 1

US Ecology (Boise, ID) plans to report its third quarter financial results on Tuesday, November 1 prior to the opening of the market. The company will host a conference call later that morning at 10 a.m. to discuss the results. US Ecology, Inc. provides radioactive, hazardous, and non-hazardous industrial waste management and recycling services...Read More »


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