Weekly News Bulletin: Sep. 18-24, 2012


Waste Connections Makes Bold Play in Oilfield Waste for $1.3 Billion

Waste Connections (The Woodlands, TX) is buying R360 Environmental Solutions, an oilfield treatment and disposal services company, for about $1.3 billion in cash. R360, which was formed two years ago from the merger of several smaller companies, operates 26 facilities across Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming, and has annualized revenue of about $300 million. The acquisition brings further diversification to an already integrated waste services company and gives them a foothold in the growing domestic energy business. The transaction, which remains subject to certain closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year...Read More »



Russell Train, Administrator and a Founder of EPA, Dead at 92

Russell E. Train, an advocate for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its second administrator, died this week at age 92. Train originally served as Richard M. Nixon's first chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and then as administrator of the EPA under Gerald R. Ford. Under Nixon, he helped craft the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, a template for future environmental legislation that introduced environmental impact statements as a requirement for federal projects. He argued successfully for the creation of the EPA empowered to execute and regulate the nation's new program of safeguarding natural resources and protecting public health.

He also had a hand in the passage of various landmark environmental laws including the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. While at EPA (from 1973 to 1977), he helped pass the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act and directing early implementation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System to protect the nation's waters...Read More »



EPA Dismisses Civil Rights Complaint over California Hazardous Waste Sites

The EPA recently dismissed a 16-year old high profile complaint that accused California regulators of violating the civil rights of three rural predominantly Latino towns in the state's Central Valley. Residents of Kettleman City, Buttonwillow and Westmorland claimed that the state's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) had violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits federal and state agencies from engaging in racial discrimination in permitting activities, particularly with regard to three nearby hazardous waste landfills including Waste Management's Kettleman Hills Landfill and Clean Harbors' Buttonwillow and Westmorland landfills. The residents sued the EPA last June in federal court for failing to respond to the original complaint within the required time period. In an August 30 letter dismissing the complaint, EPA's Office of Civil Rights said it had no authority to review the original decision to site the state's three commercial hazardous waste disposal facilities in the community, which activists allege has an unusually high number of birth defects. EPA said the siting decisions were made by entities that are not recipients of EPA assistance, and therefore the office "does not have jurisdiction over these particular siting decisions."...Read More »



House Bill to Regulate Coal Ash Incorporates Senate Compromise

A recent House bill seeks to bridge the gap with a recent Senate bill to curb EPA regulation of coal ash disposal. H.R. 3409 combines several bills that have already cleared the House including H.R. 2401 which would require a cumulative impacts assessment of several key EPA rules and block rules until that analysis is complete. The new bill also includes language that adopts a similar Senate bill (S. 3512) rather than that of the House approved bill H.R. 2273, to block EPA coal ash rules. The Senate bill, S. 3512 seeks to address industry concerns that EPA may choose to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste subject to strict RCRA subtitle C rules. Utilities fear that would drastically raise their costs of producing power from coal while the reuse industry argues that a hazardous designation would discourage any future recycling which now accounts for 40 percent of the generated waste stream. Since subtitle C rules would give oversight to the EPA, state officials favor subtitle D rules that would give them oversight which they say they can do more effectively...Read More »



Covanta Plans $100 Million Upgrade of Essex County Plant

Covanta Energy Corp. (Morristown, NJ) said it will invest as much as $100 million in its Essex County New Jersey waste-to-energy plant as part of a deal to continue operating the plant until 2032. Covanta will install a "state of the art" particulate emissions control system or "baghouse" as well as a sophisticated metals recycling system. The company recently reached a deal with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for whom they operate the plant, to continue doing so until 2032, with an option to continue through 2052. The facility which opened in 1990, burns about 2,800 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) per day generating about 65 megawatts of electricity. It receives waste from Essex County as well as nearby New York City which itself accounts for about half of the volume brought to the plant...Read More »



WM Partners with Pfizer in Online Pharmaceutical Disposal Guide

Waste Management subsidiary WM Healthcare Solutions (Houston, TX) is partnering with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (New York, NY) to launch a free online disposal guide for healthcare professionals. The "Pfizer Responsible Disposal Advisor" employs Waste Management's "Waste Wizard," a search engine that determines the appropriate disposal method given a particular type of medical waste, including whether it qualifies as a RCRA hazardous waste...Read More »



States Seek to Simplify Pharmaceutical Disposal amid EPA Inaction

Kansas is among a number of states moving to simplify pharmaceutical disposal requirements or create take-back programs amid a delay from EPA in defining federal standards. Earlier this year EPA withdrew its 2008 Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) proposal for regulating pharmaceutical wastes under its universal waste program following criticism that its approach would fail to address improper disposal of the waste. The proposed rule was intended to facilitate take-back programs by removing RCRA barriers, but instead has caused mostly confusion. EPA now says it is considering healthcare facility-specific regulations.

Amid the confusion, states are seeking to fill the regulatory void. Florida and Michigan have created either special exemptions or handling guidance for some pharmaceutical wastes, similar to Kansas' approach, in recent months. In what could become a national model, California is advocating a product stewardship approach that would require manufacturers to design, manage and finance a statewide take-back program...Read More »



Waste Management to Announce Third Quarter Results on Oct. 30

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) plans to announce third quarter financial results before the opening of the market on Tuesday, October 30. The company will host a conference call later that morning at 10 a.m. Eastern to discuss the results and answer investor questions...Read More »


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