Weekly News Bulletin: Jan. 18-24, 2012


Court Vacates EPA Stay of Boiler Air Rules, Little Short-Term Effect

Last week a federal district court vacated and remanded EPA's indefinite stay of its controversial boiler and incinerator air rules after finding the agency failed to adequately justify the delay. It is a victory for activists since the rules are again in effect though EPA is slated to amend them in April, well before they take effect as early as 2014. Although the court found the stay of the combustion rule package to be unlawful in this case, the ruling suggests EPA could issue such a stay in the future if it follows the right procedures.

In his Jan. 9 opinion, Judge Paul Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the agency's self-imposed stay of the air rules is unlawful because the agency did not meet a previously established four-part test for a stay that it was bound to use. He called EPA's stay "arbitrary and capricious" and said the agency erred in failing to base its stay on pending legal challenges to those rules, as required under section 705 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The ruling means that EPA's boiler air toxics rule and a related emissions rule for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators (CISWI) are once again in effect, though existing facilities do not have to comply with the rules until 2014 or 2015 at the earliest. As such, it is expected to have little short term effect given the 2014-2015 compliance date, and EPA has announced plans to revise and delay those deadlines to 2015 or 2016...Read More »



Judge Delays Decision on Dallas Flow Control Law

A US District Judge has delayed ruling on the City of Dallas' controversial Flow Control law for 30 days while considering arguments in a complaint filed by the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), Waste Management, Inc., and others challenging the measure as violating the city's existing franchise agreements. Last Sept. Dallas City Council passed a measure that requires all haulers collecting waste within the city to take it to the city's McCommas Bluff Landfill or one of the city's transfer stations. In November the NSWMA made good on its threat and filed a federal lawsuit to block implementation of the ordinance which was to take effect Jan. 1. The city later agreed not to enforce it while the matter is pending in court.

At issue before U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor is whether the ordinance violates the city's franchise agreements, reached in 2007, with local waste haulers that gave them permission to haul commercial waste to any state-approved landfill, not just McCommas Bluff. The city argues that it has an obligation and a police power to regulate waste management as a legitimate public purpose and denies that it assigned away its sovereign power to choose the location of waste disposal, as alleged by the plaintiffs, arguing that nothing in its contracts would support such a claim...Read More »



Veolia Environnement Faces Class Action Lawsuit for Misleading Investors

In a recently filed class action lawsuit, Veolia Environnement and several of its key executives are accused of having violated federal securities laws by making false and misleading statements about the company's internal controls, business fundamentals and financial guidance. The law firm Pomerantz Haudek Grossman & Gross LLP filed the complaint in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York on behalf of investors who purchased American Depositary Shares of Veolia between April 27, 2007, and Aug. 3, 2011. According to the complaint, Veolia was "materially overstating its financial results by engaging in improper accounting practices" and that "the company failed to timely record an impairment charge for its transport business in Morocco, environmental services in Egypt, marine services in the United States, and for southern Europe."...Read More »



Recent Fracking Disposal Quakes Could End RCRA Exemption

Activists are seizing upon a series of earthquakes in Ohio believed to be caused by a disposal well used to store wastewater from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in their efforts to urge EPA to reverse its long-standing exemption of oil and gas wastewater from hazardous waste regulation. The groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), say that if EPA ends the exemption, it will force the wastewater to be disposed of in more strictly regulated hazardous waste (Class I) disposal wells, rather than as Class II wells, whose rules do not currently require consideration of possible seismic effects.

Though wastewater disposal to wells regulated by EPA's underground injection control (UIC) program is not used in all oil and gas producing states because of geological differences, it is generally regarded by the agency and industry as the preferred option for accommodating the massive volumes of waste produced by booming hydraulic fracturing, or fracking operations...Read More »



New York City Vows to Double Recycling Rate by 2017

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an ambitious plan to double the city's recycling rate by 2017. In his State of the City Address, the Mayor said the city would begin by "increasing recycling in schools and streets and expanding our plastics recycling program," which is expected to "reduce our waste disposal costs by $50 million annually and help protect the environment." He also said the city would "become one of the first cities in the country to turn wastewater into renewable energy" while exploring "the possibility of cleanly converting trash into renewable energy."...Read More »



Industry Association Issues New Waste-to-Energy Policy

Following last week's release of a white paper, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) issued a formal policy that renews its support of waste-to-energy as an important part of an integrated solid waste management system. The policy, which is meant to guide the decision making of communities across the country, establishes that waste-to-energy technology is consistent with the US EPA's current waste management hierarchy and integrated waste management plans that include waste prevention, reduction and recycling programs.

"It is important for the public to understand that waste-to-energy facilities positively impact greenhouse gas emissions on a life cycle basis," stated Division Director Joe Murdoch. "This reflects the significant advances and investments in air pollution control that have been made at these facilities as the technology has evolved and complied with Federal law."...Read More »



Keep America Beautiful and Composting Council Form Partnership

National nonprofits Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and the U.S. Composting Council (USCC) announced a partnership to increase waste reduction through composting education and activities nationwide. "Our organization's goal has long been to engage all people in reducing waste and recycling or reusing the products that touch their lives on a daily basis," said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. "Composting organic residuals can significantly reduce landfill impacts while creating a healthier ecosystem. This partnership represents a win-win for communities and the environment." Over 30 percent of KAB's nearly 600 affiliates are recycling coordinators for their communities, while 60 percent serve in local government...Read More »



Waste Management to Convert Ottawa Fleet to CNG

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) said it will be adding 25 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled waste and recycling trucks to its Ottawa, Ont. based fleet and also plans to convert its current commercial fleet to CNG as part of its North American fleet conversion strategy. Consequently, the company plans to construct a CNG fueling station in Stittsville, just outside of Ottawa, to service the growing fleet. Waste Management now operates 17 CNG fueling stations in North America and plans to triple that number to nearly 50 stations operating by the end of this year...Read More »



Agilyx Corp. Names Two New Members to Its Board

Agilyx Corp., which recycles scrap plastic into crude oil, has appointed Ross Patten and Bob Simpson to its board of directors. Patten is currently CEO of MaxWest Environmental (Sanford, FL). He was formerly Chairman and CEO of Synagro Technologies and a former senior executive for Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. and Browning-Ferris Industries. Before retiring in late 2011, Simpson served as SVP & CFO for Waste Management and prior to that as SVP and Chief Accounting Officer.

Agilyx, formerly Plas2Fuel Corp., is a developer of a patented system that can economically convert difficult-to-recycle waste plastics into crude oil. The company is backed by Keating Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), Saffron Hill Ventures, Waste Management, Total Energy Ventures International/Total S.A., Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, and Reference Capital...Read More »



New 6.4 MW Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project in Michigan

Granger Energy Services (Lansing, MI) plans to build a $6 million, 6.4 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy plant at the Orchard Hill Sanitary Landfill in Watervliet, MI, owned by Best Way Disposal. The 5,600 square-foot plant will initially house two engines each capable of producing 3.2 megawatts of electricity which will be sold to the Michigan Public Power Agency. Jim Grant of Granger, said he estimates that the landfill contains enough methane to to sustain constant electrical production for more than 100 years...Read More »



Fortistar Begins Operating 6.4 MW Landfill Gas-to-Energy Plant in Richmond, VA

Renewable energy developer Fortistar (White Plains, NY) has begun operating a 6.4 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy project in partnership with Republic Services at Republic's Old Dominion Landfill in Richmond, VA. Old Dominion Electric Cooperative is buying the electricity under a power purchase agreement. Mark Comora, President of Fortistar said "We support and agree with Virginia's "All of the Above" renewable energy approach. Energy from landfills is a proven cost effective source of renewable energy - and can be a part of every community's energy strategy." This is Fortistar's third project in Virginia and its fifteenth with Republic Services. The company currently has ownership stakes in over 60 projects in North America, with total generation capacity of exceeding 3,000 megawatts...Read More »



Robeson County, NC Adds $1.4 million Landfill Gas-to-Energy Plant

Robeson County, NC has added a $1.4 million, 1 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy plant to its landfill from which it hopes to earn $500,000 per year in electricity revenues. The county will also earn an extra $250,000 per year in renewable energy and carbon credits. NC Electric Membership Corp., a statewide organization of electrical cooperatives that serve rural communities, will buy the power and the credits. Of the $1.4 million project cost, the county contributed $425 while the remaining $1 million came from a state grant...Read More »



Covanta to Report Fourth Quarter Earnings on Feb. 8

Covanta Holding Corp. (Morristown, NJ) plans to report its fourth quarter and full-year financial results after the close of the market on Wednesday, February 8. The company will host a conference call the following day at 8:30 am (Eastern) to discuss those results...Read More »



Waste Connections to Report Fourth Quarter Earnings on Feb. 7

Waste Connections, Inc. (The Woodlands, TX) will report its fourth quarter and full-year financial performance and outlook for 2012 after the close of the market on February 7. The company will host an investor conference call the following day at 8:30 am (Eastern)...Read More »



Progressive Waste to Report Fourth Quarter Earnings on Feb. 28

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (Toronto, ON) plans to report its fourth quarter and full-year financial results on Tuesday, February 28 after the close of the markets. The Company will host a conference call the following day at 8:30 am (Eastern)...Read More »


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