A federal court has ruled that the US EPA acted unlawfully last year when it delayed the enforcement of air pollution rules for industrial boilers and incinerators. The decision by US District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman, who called the delay "arbitrary and capricious," creates uncertainty for manufacturers, chemical plants, refiners, and other industrial facilities that use boilers to generate heat or electricity. The EPA had finalized the rules under court order last February, but then said it would delay them while it made changes. The Sierra Club filed suit ("Sierra Club v. EPA") arguing that EPA lacks authority to issue an indefinite stay under the Clean Air Act since section 307(b) of the law limits stays to three months, and because the stay violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) since EPA did not seek notice and comment on the stay before issuing it earlier this year. The ruling also reinstates the March 21, 2014, compliance date for the rules...Read More »
A biomass energy project in Plainfield, Conn. is to receive $225 million in construction financing from Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) and the Carlyle Energy Mezzanine Opportunities Group. The Plainfield Renewable Energy project is owned by a unit of Enova Energy Group and will generate 37.5 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power 37,000 homes, once it is complete in December, 2013. The project is to use wood available from construction and demolition debris, recycled wood pallets and land-clearing materials. Connecticut Light & Power will purchase power from the plant based on a 15-year, off-take agreement. The companies said the plant's location is also a beneficial reuse of a former Superfund site...Read More »
Renewable energy developer Ameresco, Inc. (Framingham, MA) said it received its Final Acceptance Certificate from the US Department of Energy Savannah River Operations Office for the completion of construction of the Savannah River Site Biomass Cogeneration Facility installed under the $795 million 19-year energy savings performance contract awarded to Ameresco in May 2009. Once fully operational later this year, the biomass plant, which will replace an existing 1950s-era coal burning facility, will convert about 325,000 tons of fuel per year, including local forest residue and wood chips into 20 megawatts of electricity that should meet about 30 percent of the site's power needs. The facility is expected to generate $944 million of energy, water, operations and maintenance savings over the contract period...Read More »
Toxic chemical releases to the environment soared by 16 percent in 2010, mostly due to metals mining and despite years of decline, according to the latest data from the US EPA. The EPA reported in its 2010 Toxic Release inventory (TRI) Analysis that toxic emissions to air, soil and water increased to 3.93 billion pounds in 2010 from 3.39 billion pounds in 2009. The agency said the most likely reasons were due to increased metals mining, which represents 41 percent of all disposal or other releases and changes in the composition of the ore being mined. In addition to increased production, the result of greater economic activity, the agency said other reasons are likely due to changes in chemical use, management methods, and estimation techniques. Data in the report comes from multiple industry sectors, including manufacturing, mining, electric utilities and commercial hazardous waste facilities...Read More »
Congress approved an omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2012 that permanently strips the US EPA of its air permitting authority in Arctic waters, cuts spending on key water and greenhouse gas (GHG) programs and cuts the agency's overall spending by $233 million compared to fiscal 2011. However, the final conference committee bill, passed by Congress Dec. 16 and signed Dec. 23 by President Obama, dropped dozens of other binding policy riders, sought by Republicans to address core EPA air, water, waste and toxics programs. Still, at least one of the House riders remains: legislative language amending the Clean Air Act to transfer the authority for issuing air permits for drilling operations in the Arctic from EPA to the Department of the Interior (DOI). The House agreed to drop some of its riders because of actions taken by EPA. For example, lawmakers dropped a rider blocking EPA's air rule for boilers because they were "encouraged" by the agency's recently re-proposed rule, which provides additional compliance flexibilities and exempts biomass. The final bill's overall funding level was set in the deficit reduction deal that Congress approved earlier this year, providing slightly higher levels than what House appropriators had assumed...Read More »
Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) has appointed William K. "Bill" Caesar as President of WM Recycle America (WMRA), effective immediately. He had been chief strategy officer and succeeds Pat DeRueda who returned to the company's West Group, where he previously worked, as area vice president for Arizona and New Mexico, to be closer to family. Caesar joined Waste Management in 2010 from McKinsey & Company where he worked in the firm's North American Energy & Materials practice. Prior to joining McKinsey, Caesar served as a Russian political and economic analyst at the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency...Read More »
The American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), representing companies that reuse ash in products such as cement, is asking the US EPA to heed its suggestions for EPA's pending risk study on ash reuse that will inform the agency's long-stalled Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) final rule on coal waste disposal. Among other things, the industry group is urging EPA to assess the risks of ash use in products as well as any alternative ingredients that may replace the ash should manufacturers choose to do so. ACCA met with EPA waste chief Mathy Stanislaus on January 3rd to discuss its the pending risk study.
In June 2010 the EPA proposed regulating coal ash as hazardous waste subject to strict controls under RCRA subtitle C, or as solid waste under subtitle D, which would give states primary oversight of ash disposal. The agency has yet to send the final rule to the White House for review. Last month EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that the agency is aiming for late 2012 to issue a first-time analysis on the potential health risks from reuse of ash in products, a study long sought by proponents of strong ash controls that could also inform the agency's final coal ash disposal rule.
ACCA and other coal ash reuse proponents are also pressing Congress to bar EPA from regulating the waste as hazardous over concerns such a designation would devastate the ash recycling industry by giving coal ash a "stigma" as a hazardous substance...Read More »
Covanta Energy (Morristown, NJ) is teaming up with Israeli company RAFEAL Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., a defense contractor, to develop a mobile biomass-to-fuel system. The project is to receive a grant of $8.1 million from the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, an Israel-US government foundation, along with eight other recipients. In addition to the grant money, the Covanta-RAFEAL partnership and other recipients will also benefit from access to private sector funding to the BIRD Foundation, which is expected to raise $22 million. The maximum amount of funding awarded by the BIRD Foundation to any one project is $1 million...Read More »
A waste industry association says that shared responsibility among industry, government and consumers is essential to any successful product stewardship program and that relevant legislation should be designed accordingly. The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) announced a new policy that seeks to ensure that "any proposed product stewardship legislation be designed carefully to ensure that recycling and waste management systems continue to be cost-effective, innovative, efficient and result in enhanced environmental protection at no additional cost to taxpayers or consumers." NSWMA also recommends that legislators "conduct a comprehensive lifecycle analysis before designating products for mandated product stewardship," and that "new programs should take place in a fully competitive marketplace with no antitrust immunity for product stewardship organizations."...Read More »
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) released a white paper that touts the economic benefits of waste-to-energy to inform industry stakeholders, policy makers and communities seeking to improve waste and materials management functions and benefit from enhanced materials and energy recovery. The paper, titled "Waste-to-Energy Facilities Provide Significant Economic Benefits," highlights a number of its economic benefits including additional revenues generated from the sale of recovered metals and renewable energy. The paper also gives examples of several communities across the country that have employed waste-to-energy very successfully.
"Other municipalities considering this technology across North America can have confidence that they can be operated in an environmentally sound manner and can actually represent an economic asset to the community," SWANA Executive Director John Skinner said in a statement...Read More »
Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) plans to announce its fourth quarter and full-year financial results before the opening of the market on Thursday, February 16 and host a conference call later that morning at 10 am (eastern) to discuss those results...Read More »
Republic Services, Inc. (Phoenix, AZ) plans to report its fourth quarter and full-year financial results on Thursday, February 9 at 5 pm (eastern). The company will host a conference call to make the announcement which will also be broadcast live over the internet...Read More »