President Obama has officially nominated Gina McCarthy to lead the EPA. McCarthy currently heads the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation and has played a key role in crafting a variety of new pollution rules, including limits on soot and mercury emissions from power plants. Her background in air pollution signals Obama's ambition to make climate change a priority during his second term. He has already said that if Congress fails to act, he would use executive authority to advance his goals to curb emissions of greenhouse gases and boost clean energy. The EPA would be at the vanguard of that effort. On Monday he said his nominee will ensure "we're doing everything that we can to combat the threat of climate change." For that reason she will likely face tough questions from Republican lawmakers who believe the EPA has overstepped its authority and issued rules that have hurt the economy. While McCarthy has the respect of environmental groups, she also has a reputation for working well with utilities and state regulators which bear the brunt of implementing EPA rules. That could help her confirmation. She came to Washington after serving as the top environmental regulator in Massachusetts and Connecticut under Democratic and Republican governors...Read More »
Advanced Disposal (Ponte Vedra, FL), fresh on the heels of its recent merger, continues to assemble its management team with the appointment of Mark Nighbor as director of marketing and sales. He recently served as regional sales director for Veolia Environmental Services Solid Waste where he was responsible for an annual revenue quota of $468 million. Advanced Disposal bought Veolia's US waste business last July for $1.9 billion. Last Sept. the company assumed control of its sister company Interstate Waste Services, also owned by Highstar Capital.
"Mark's technology and services background will help shape the crucial tools Advanced Disposal needs to manage and grow our business in an organized, data-driven manner utilizing technology to our advantage," said Chief Marketing Officer Mary O'Brien in a statement. "He will serve as the bridge between our marketing and sales teams."...Read More »
While EPA wrestles with how to regulate coal ash and while Congress debates over whether to preempt EPA from regulating it as a hazardous waste, environmental groups press for change through the courts. Coal ash or coal combustion residuals (CCRs) are the byproduct of combustion at coal-fired power plants, and contain heavy metals and other toxic substances. According to EPA's website, ash is often mixed with water and disposed on site in large containment ponds, many of which are unlined...Read More »
Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) reported a fiscal third quarter loss that narrowed since last year on slightly higher revenue, the result of operational improvements and collection pricing growth of 1.9 percent. However, lower than expected landfill volumes, softness in the collection line-of-business, and project delays limited revenue growth to 0.4 percent to $115.0 million for the quarter. Its quarterly loss decreased to $11.4 million, or 29 cents per share, compared to last year's loss of $24.6 million, or 92 cents per share.
"We continued to face operating challenges throughout our business in the third quarter," said John W. Casella, Chairman and CEO of Casella Waste Systems. "Landfill volumes at our western New York landfills, volumes in our collection line-of-business, and the ramp-up of several projects all underperformed our expectations in the quarter and, as such, we have lowered our guidance for the current fiscal year." Consequently, his company adjusted its fiscal year guidance with revenues between $462 million and $472 million and adjusted EBITDA between $87 million and $90 million.
Casella said the company accomplished several important goals in the quarter including the sale of the Maine waste-to-energy plant, the acquisition of BBI in Maine and New Hampshire and the issuance of a permit to expand its Southbridge landfill in Massachusetts...Read More »
Three waste industry trade groups plan to combine into a single yet to be named entity. The groups--currently comprised of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC) acting under the umbrella of the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA)--will be merged in hopes of "eliminating confusion with our names and enhancing the cohesion of the sectors contributing to waste management and recycling," the group's CEO, Sharon Kneiss, told Waste Age. With a new name, to be announced at the upcoming WasteExpo, comes organizational change focused in four key areas: Educational programs and standards, government affairs and chapter operations, communications, and membership...Read More »
If the saying "As California Goes, So Goes the Country" has merit, then we should pay attention to a new bill there that seeks to regulate "produced" water from oil and gas fracking operations as a hazardous waste. But industry representatives are sure to oppose the measure, arguing that the state already has extensive regulations overseeing drilling operations and wastewater controls. The bill, SB 395 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), would "define produced water and require its regulation as a hazardous substance during the extraction of oil and gas, including hydraulic fracturing operations." Environmental groups are promoting her effort and similar measures in other states as well as at the federal level. Groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), are urging the EPA to reverse its long-standing exemption of oil and gas wastewater from hazardous waste regulation. A 2010 NRDC petition argues that hazardous waste rules under RCRA subtitle C are "necessary to ensure safe management of these wastes throughout their life cycle from cradle to grave, including generation, transportation, treatment, storage and disposal."...Read More »
FuelCell Energy (Danbury, CT) has won a contract to build and operate a fuel cell power plant near Vancouver, BC that will utilize landfill gas as its fuel source. The company says that its tri-generation stationary fuel cell power plant generates multiple revenue streams, including ultra-clean electricity, usable high quality heat and renewable hydrogen. Fuel cells employ an electro-chemical power generation process that can convert biogas or natural gas to power more efficiently than does combustion, with virtually no emissions and with very few moving parts. Moreover, the power plants are fuel flexible, using readily available sources such as natural gas, renewable biogas, directed biogas, or landfill gas...Read More »