The US EPA has issued finalized clean air standards for industrial boilers, incinerators and cement kilns that weakens several emissions limits and extends compliance deadlines beyond what it had previously proposed and broadened the definition for what materials constitute "non-waste fuels" that can be burned under less stringent emissions standards.
The release of the rules has drawn a mixed reaction from industry and environmentalists which makes it unclear which groups might sue over the rules that are the result of a lengthy reconsideration process and years of litigation by environmentalists seeking issuance of the policies.
The new rules target roughly 2,300 boilers, or less than 1 percent of the 1.5 million units operating in the US. These are primarily large-source boilers, found mainly at refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities, which will have three years to comply instead of one and can be granted a fourth year if needed to install controls, the EPA said. The rule also targets 106 industrial solid waste incinerators, which have five years to comply with the new standards. EPA estimates that meeting the new standards for boilers and some incinerators will cost industry between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion annually...Read More »
Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) said it has completed its $1.25 billion acquisition of Safety-Kleen, Inc. (Plano, TX) in an all-cash transaction financed through the combination of $289 million of existing cash, $370 million in net proceeds from a recent stock offering and $591 million from a bond issue. Clean Harbors plans to operate Safety-Kleen as a subsidiary with some exceptions and expects the purchase to be immediately accretive, excluding one-time fees and acquisition-related expenses. "The acquisition of Safety-Kleen aligns perfectly with our strategy of expanding our environmental services business in North America," said Alan McKim, Clean Harbors' chairman and CEO. "Safety-Kleen brings well-established leadership positions in several important markets, including parts cleaning, small-quantity waste generators, and used-oil recycling." McKim added that, with Safety-Kleen's more than 200,000 customer locations, the combined operations have considerable opportunities for cross-selling and would "drive a substantial increase in waste volumes into our waste disposal treatment network."...Read More »
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who pushed through the most sweeping curbs on air pollution in two decades, announced on December 27 that she will step down sometime after the President gives his State of the Union address later in January. "I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family, and new opportunities to make a difference," Jackson said in a statement. Under her tenure, EPA passed a slew of rules that included the first greenhouse-gas standards for vehicles, cuts in mercury and other toxic pollution from power plants, and a tighter limit on soot, the nation's most widespread deadly pollutant. Consequently, she gained praise from environmental groups but severe criticism from regulated industries and Republican leaders who charged that she was waging a "war on coal", Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, called for her termination during his campaign...Read More »
A US District Court has upheld a waste flow control law in South Carolina against a challenge from private haulers. The haulers, Sandlands C&D and Express Disposal Services, say their business was adversely affected by the Horry County Solid Waste Authority's law, passed in 2009, that directed all waste generated in the county to its own landfill in Conway, SC or one designated by the authority. The haulers took their case to federal court after the state's Supreme Court affirmed the county's law in September 2011. The county has argued that the law is necessary to protect itself and its citizens from liability that could occur with its waste being disposed in out-of-county landfills, according to court records. Notwithstanding the flimsy logic or the fact that it is the only county in the state to have such a law, the county can point to a US Supreme Court decision that paves the way for local flow control. In its 2007 ruling on United Haulers Association v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, the high 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...Read More »
Nuclear waste management company EnergySolutions (Salt Lake City, UT) has agreed to be taken private by investment firm Energy Capital Partners for $338.5 million in a deal that has an enterprise value of $1.1 billion. CEO and President David Lockwood said the move offers shareholders "compelling value" and "for our company, this transaction enables us to continue to execute on our strategic plan by providing the investment capital to expand and grow our business," he said in a news release. The company's nuclear plant decommissioning business is expected to grow in the coming years as Germany and Japan have announced plans to retire most of their nuclear plants. EnergySolutions provides services such as decontamination, spent-fuel handling and waste disposal to customers including Duke Energy Corp and Exelon Corp. Energy Capital, whose bid is backed by Morgan Stanley, said it plans to operate the company as a standalone business with the current management in place...
Congressional approval of legislation to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of budget cuts and tax increases prolongs uncertainty over EPA's future funding levels though the bill does extend several clean energy tax credits, including the production tax credit (PTC). The fiscal cliff comprises a slew of tax increases and $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts over ten years as dictated by the Budget Control Act (BCA). The BCA sequestration would cut EPA's existing budget of roughly $8.4 billion down to $7.7 billion. The Senate and House bill (H.R. 8) delays the sequestration by two months while Congress works out a longer-term agreement and also extends the renewable energy PTC that had expired December 31. That includes $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive of which Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, representing the biodiesel industry, said "is important not just for jobs but for diversifying our energy supplies, improving our energy security and reducing costly emissions."...Read More »
Waste vehicle manufacturer Heil Environmental (Chattanooga, TN) announced a five percent price increase on all refuse collection bodies and roll-off hoists, effective January 1, 2013. The company cited two primary reasons for the increase, beginning with product innovations, especially new technologies that are now part of the standard models versus separately priced options. On the other hand, the company cites the impacts of escalating employee healthcare costs and the overall economic inflation that has affected most industrial manufacturers over the same 18-24 month time period. "Unfortunately, such significant cost increases cannot be offset by internal Lean initiatives alone," said Tom Vatter, Vice President of Sales for Environmental Solutions Group, of which Heil is a part. "We are proud of our commitment to product innovation and superior service, and we will continue to invest in technology that will enhance the People, Profit, and Planet components of each customer's Triple Bottom Line."...Read More »
J. P. Mascaro & Sons (Audubon, PA) has won a $135 million, 5-year contract to haul waste from Morris County, NJ to the Keystone Sanitary Landfill in Dunmore, PA. Later this month the company will begin operating two transfer stations owned by Morris County, and has purchased 27 new trucks and 68 trailers and is renovating an old 5,000-square-foot truck depot to service the fleet in preparation of the contract which involves the transportation and disposal of about 400,000 tons per year. The deal, which is the company's largest in its 50-year history, comes as a bit of a blow to industry giant Waste Management which had the contract for the last 20 years...Read More »
Maui County in Hawaii is seeking a partner to develop a waste-to-energy project that would divert at least 450 tons of waste per day, currently headed to its landfill, to generate as much as 15 megawatts of power. The county, which has already received as many as 111 proposals, says it is willing to sign a 20-year agreement to guarantee the waste stream but would require that bidders propose established technologies that have been proved on a commercial scale at two facilities each with three years of commercial operating history. Maui County officials have said the Department of Environmental Management would lease approximately 10 acres next to the landfill to the winning bidder, which would be required to finance, design, build and operate the project...Read More »
Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) is to receive $32 million in first-ever government financing for a new recycling plant in St. Bernard, OH to replace a facility severely damaged by fire in April last year. The new 84,000-square-foot recycling plant will employ 110 workers and advanced technology to process 50 tons per hour of residential and commercial materials. Groundbreaking is this month, with project completion scheduled for next October. "This creative financing package will allow Rumpke Recycling to install a state-of-the-art facility that will operate with maximum efficiency and retain our regional capacity at optimal levels," Phil Wehrman, Rumpke chief financial officer, said in a statement...Read More »
Santek Waste Services, Inc. (Cleveland, TN) said it bought two recycling companies, Evans Recycling and Davis Disposal, both of which are located in northwestern Georgia. Evans, which is Santek's first recycling acquisition, brings with it a multiple-stream material recovery facility (MRF) that is co-located at the Redbone Ridges Landfill in Calhoun, GA. Santek manages that landfill for Gordon County under a long-term contract and said that operating the MRF will complement its industrial waste reduction efforts. Similarly, Davis Disposal will help Santek expand residential collection into the North Georgia market while bringing more volume into its own landfills. "It's an exciting time in the life of our company, and we're evaluating other opportunities which are strategic to growing our hauling operations and our landfill partnerships with local government," said Santek President Eddie Caylor. Santek manages 16 solid waste landfills, three transfer stations and four waste collection companies in nine states. Terms of the deals were not disclosed...Read More »
Covanta Energy Corp. (Morristown, NJ) said it is teaming up with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (Seal Beach, CA) to co-develop compressed natural gas (CNG) stations at select Covanta facilities throughout the US. The two companies will collaborate to identify which of Covanta's waste-to-energy plants or 13 transfer stations are suitable for locating a CNG station. The first such facility will open later this month at Covanta's Essex County Resource Recovery Facility in Newark, NJ. "The new CNG stations will complement our operations, as we are committed to limiting impacts to the environment and our communities and providing the cleanest, most reliable source of energy from waste in the world," said Joey Neuhoff, Covanta Energy vice president of business development...Read More »