32 people have been arrested and charged for their connection to an organized crime scheme to control the commercial waste industry in and around New York City. Twelve are known members of the Genovese, Gambino and Luchese organized crime families and are being charged with racketeering conspiracy following a multi-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). According to Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York who announced the arrests, the defendants are accused of infiltrating and extorting local waste companies through the threat and use of violence. One of the alleged ring leaders is Carmine "Papa Smurf" Franco, a Genovese family associate with more than three decades in the garbage business.
The so-called "enterprise members" engaged in a "property rights" scheme by which waste pickup routes and prices were dictated and companies were "discouraged" from competing with one another on price or service, in effect imposing a criminal tax on businesses and communities that suffered the resulting higher prices. Their efforts were coordinated through the use of "sit-downs" to determine which faction would control a particular waste company and established financial terms by which control of that company could be transferred from one faction to another in return for payment. Court papers allege the extortion ring controlled several waste hauling companies in Westchester, Rockland and Nassau counties in New York, and in Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey...Read More »
A whistleblower lawsuit alleges that medical waste management firm Stericycle Inc (Lake Forest, IL) systematically overcharged state and federal agencies for services over a period of several years. The suit came to light when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alluded to it as he announced a $2.4 million settlement between his state and Stericycle on January 8. The New York settlement resolves the state's claim that Stericycle engaged in a plan, dating back to 2003, to over-charge public entities such as schools, hospitals, and police and fire departments in New York. The federal lawsuit claims that the company improperly added fuel and energy surcharges to monthly bills of fixed-price agreements to government agencies. "These fuel and energy surcharges bear no relationship to actual increases in the cost of fuel and energy borne by Stericycle," the lawsuit alleges. Former employee Jennifer Perez is named as a plaintiff, along with 14 states, the federal government and the District of Columbia. So far, Stericycle has not responded to reporters' inquiries about the lawsuit...Read More »
The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency has approved incentives for Covanta Energy (Morristown, NJ) to expand its Niagara Falls, NY waste-to-energy plant. The expansion includes the addition of a third boiler which will increase the plant's capacity by 36 percent from 2,260 tons per day to about 3,000 tons per day. Also included in the $30.1 million capital project is the addition of a new rail transfer facility and a new special waste handling facility. That dove tails with the company's recent efforts to enhance metals recovery at its plants. The expansion will allow Covanta Niagara to begin processing waste material, roughly 300,000 tons annually, from the New York City area...Read More »
The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) has signed contracts with a Florida company that will develop an industrial park and recycling center that will be powered by renewable energy, including landfill gas. Team Gemini LLC, a developer based in Orlando will build its recycling facility next to SWACO's Franklin County landfill and become the anchor tenant in a 340-acre industrial park across the road, to be named Gemini Synergy Center. Under the contract, the recycling facility will process a minimum of 1,000 tons of waste per day once it becomes operational in 2014. Consequently, they will pay SWACO $4.81 per net ton of usable material. The industrial park is expected to include greenhouses, a fish farm, an anaerobic digester and other production and industrial facilities. Under the design concept, waste from one center will help fuel another. For example, gas from the landfill and from the digesters will be used to provide power and heat to the greenhouses in order to grow crops year-round. An Italian greenhouse manufacturer plans to open its first North American manufacturing facility to demonstrate its concept...Read More »
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), chair of the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, said he will pursue legislation to limit EPA's regulation of hydraulic fracturing and to bar the agency's pending coal ash disposal rule by replacing it with state-led standards. In a Jan. 3 statement, Shimkus said his subcommittee will ensure that EPA "does not attempt to intervene in regulation of oil and gas industry exploration through hydraulic fracturing which states have been successfully regulating on their own for many years." Shimkus also said his panel will pass a bill to establish consistent national standards for coal ash that are implemented by the states. EPA is considering whether to regulate the waste as either hazardous under the Resources Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) subtitle C or under the less-stringent solid waste provisions of RCRA subtitle D. States, coal ash recyclers, utilities and others favor the subtitle D approach while environmentalists counter that subtitle C hazardous waste rules are necessary to ensure adequate, consistent ash controls...Read More »
WCA Waste Corp. (Houston, TX) has appointed James J. Cowhey as its first non-interim CEO since the company went private in March 2012 when it was acquired by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners. Jim Cowhey, a waste industry veteran, had headed Land and Lakes Co. (Park Ridge, IL) until it was sold to Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) last year. He takes over from Paul Mitchener, a managing director of Macquarie Infrastructure who served as interim CEO since the acquisition. "The WCA Board is thrilled to have Jim Cowhey as our CEO. Jim's extensive experience in the waste industry and his proven track record in building Land and Lakes into a leading company in one of the most competitive markets in the U.S. greatly enhance our ability to execute the strategic vision for the Company," said Mitchener.
WCA is an integrated waste management company with a network of 22 landfills, 24 transfer stations and 25 collection operations throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas...Read More »
Waste-to-biofuels and chemicals company Enerkem Inc. (Montreal, QC), which is about to open a new biofuels facility in Edmonton, AB this summer, has closed on a new $37.5 million investment from existing investors Waste Management Inc. and EB Investments. "We're glad to see Waste Management and EB Investments strengthen their relationship with us by increasing their direct investment in the Edmonton facility," said Vincent Chornet, president and CEO of Enerkem. "This is further validation of Enerkem's business model and leadership position in the market for waste-to-fuels and chemicals." Enerkem makes biofuels from non-recyclable municipal solid waste. A gasifier converts the waste into a pure synthesis gas (or syngas) that can then be converted into chemicals or biofuels using chemical catalysts. The company broke ground on the Edmonton facility in Oct. 2011. It is one of two plants that will produce 10 million gallons of biofuel per year; a second similar facility is being developed in Pontotoc, MS...Read More »
Renewable energy company Fortistar (White Plains, NY) has acquired compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station developer Vocational Energy through its new affiliate TruStar Energy LLC. TruStar will continue Vocational Energy's construction business and expand by offering long-term fuel supply agreements to companies as they convert their fleets to CNG. It also capitalizes on Fortistar's supply of landfill gas as a renewable component to the fuel supply. "We are extremely pleased to be acquiring Vocational Energy and to be able to provide one stop shopping for customers looking to convert their fleets over to clean burning CNG," said Adam Comora , President and CEO of TruStar Energy. "We look forward to deploying the necessary capital to address this growing industry's infrastructure needs."...Read More »
Sims Recycling Solutions has opened a new 55,000 square-foot electronics recycling facility in Laval, Quebec that will serve the greater Montreal area. It will help meet new waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) stewardship regulations implemented by Quebec last July. The new facility complements two other Sims sites in Ontario, and one in British Columbia. "Quebec, home to 24 percent of the Canadian population, is the latest province to implement WEEE recycling regulations. If Quebec's volumes reflect those of other provinces driven by similar regulations, we can expect at least 25,000 metric tonnes of WEEE to be recycled in Quebec over the next year" says Cindy Coutts, President of Sims Recycling Solutions, Canada...Read More »
Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) plans to announce fourth quarter and full-year 2012 financial results before the opening of the market on Thursday, February 14. The company will host a conference call later that morning at 10 a.m. ET...Read More »
Republic Services, Inc. (Phoenix, AZ) will report its fourth quarter and year-end 2012 financial results on Thursday, February 7 at about 4 p.m. ET and host a conference call shortly thereafter at 5 p.m...Read More »
Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (Toronto, ON) will report fourth quarter and full-year financial results on Thursday, February 14 before the opening of the markets. The company will host a conference call later that morning at 8:30 a.m. ET...Read More »