The City of Dallas has given up its long-fought plans to require all waste in the city to be delivered to its landfill or transfer stations by settling a lawsuit brought by area waste haulers who argued that the city ordinance violated their existing 20-year contracts with the city, among other issues. The settlement, which was approved earlier this month by Federal District Court Judge Reed O'Connor, means the haulers can dispose of the waste they collect in Dallas at a location of their choosing, including their own facilities located outside Dallas. The city passed its flow control ordinance in September 2011. The law was challenged by the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and several haulers who argued that the law violated their existing 20-year franchise contracts with the city, reached in 2007. As such, it violated the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as Texas state law and the Dallas city charter, they argued. The court determined that the city enacted the law for economic gain "at the expense of the franchisees' rights. This is an unreasonable exercise of its police powers," the court said in its ruling. As part of the settlement, it was agreed that no flow control law would be applicable to the parties to the lawsuit until 2029...Read More »
This week Senate Republicans prevented a vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator of the EPA, by boycotting a meeting of the Environment and Public Works committee. GOP members said their questions for McCarthy and the EPA have gone unanswered, a contention that is disputed by the White House. The dispute over McCarthy stems from more than 1,000 written questions Republican senators asked her after her confirmation hearing. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), the top Republican on the Environment Committee, has led the charge with questions over aggressive EPA regulations to cut pollution as well as her predecessor's use of phony email accounts to hide official correspondence from public scrutiny. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) said McCarthy had gone "above and beyond the requirements of a nominee" in answering more than 1,000 questions and meeting with almost half the 100-member Senate. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) blames the boycott in part on the sexism of her GOP opponents...Read More »
EPA still has no timetable for developing rules to regulate the disposal of coal ash or coal combustion residuals (CCRs). In testimony before a House subcommittee April 11, Mathy Stanislaus, EPA's assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, said his agency is still reviewing several hundred thousand public comments on the regulation and plans to solicit additional public comment on the issue. Since a catastrophic failure of one of these ponds at a TVA plant in Kingston, TN in 2008, EPA has debated whether to regulate CCRs as a "hazardous" waste subject to strict subtitle C rules under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), or under less stringent subtitle D rules. EPA said it does not expect to issue a rule until at least 2014. Stanislaus said the agency had laid out in court filings that it "would have some idea in six months, based on the ability to get public input on this data." He said the six-month target is not a deadlineto issue a rule, but a time frame in which the agency should have a better idea of how to proceed...Read More »
Spain-based Abengoa, the largest developer of solar-thermal power plants, announced it will build a $110 million waste-to-energy plant in Arizona. The facility in Glendale will process about 180,000 tons of municipal solid waste annually to generate 15 megawatts of electricity using a waste gasification process. The company will maintain the plant under a 30-year agreement with Chicago-based Vieste Energy LLC, a renewable- energy developer. Vieste is still searching for someone to buy the power from the facility. Abengoa is also expected to complete this year a second-generation biofuel plant in Kansas, and has developed water desalination plants in regions including Africa and Asia...Read More »
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has appointed Sara Bixby as its new deputy executive director. Bixby is a past president of SWANA and is a life member of the organization. She comes to SWANA from the South Central Iowa Solid Waste Agency, where she has been director for the past 10 years. She replaces Lori Scozzafava who left the association last fall and recently became executive director of the U.S. Composting Council (USCC). "Sara's excellent experience in managing real-world solid waste management operations will help SWANA provide more valuable programs and services to our members," said John Skinner, executive director and CEO of SWANA...Read More »
Pharmaceutical industry groups are fighting legislation in California that would require manufacturers to establish drug take-back programs. They argue that the measure would violate the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by imposing costs on out-of-state companies and that the bill (SB 727) adds unnecessary costs to consumers that could lead to spikes in prescription drug prices. They worry that the state measure, which duplicates an Alameda County ordinance passed last year, sets a dangerous precedent and may conflict with upcoming federal rules on disposal of pharmaceuticals...Read More »
A federal court, affirming a lower court, has ruled that wood preservative escaping from utility poles is not a "solid waste" to be governed by the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Clean Water Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled April 3 in Ecological Rights Foundation (ERF) v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Pacific Bell Telephone Company that ERF had failed to state a claim under RCRA or under the water law because discharges of storm water from the utility poles were neither a "point source discharge" nor "associated with industrial activity." ERF argued that PCP-based wood preservative that leaks, spills and drips from the utility poles poses an "imminent and substantial endangerment." The court relied on RCRA's legislative history to reach its ruling, finding that RCRA's definitions of "solid waste" and "disposal" are too ambiguous to provide guidance in deciding whether "solid waste" includes wood preservatives that escape from utility poles...Read More »
Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) promoted Jerry E. Correll, EVP of Environmental Sales to President of Safety-Kleen Environmental Services, which Clean Harbors acquired in October of last year for $1.25 billion. Correll replaces Robert Craycraft, who resigned to pursue other opportunities. Over the last 11 year Correll worked in progressively larger roles at Clean Harbors, prior to which he spent 16 years at Safety-Kleen, until Clean Harbor's acquired its Chemical Services Division, where he developed a command of the company's business, operations and market opportunities, according to Alan S. McKim, Chairman and CEO of Clean Harbors...Read More »
Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) reported first quarter earnings that were lower on certain non-recurring acquisition, integration and severance costs and despite significantly higher revenue. Revenue increased by 51 percent to $862.2 million from the prior year's figure of $572.0 million primarily due to the company's recent acquisition of Safety-Kleen. Net income for the quarter declined to $10.5 million or $0.17 per share from $32.0 million or $0.60 per share last year.
The company lowered its guidance for the year and now expects revenues in the range of $3.62 billion to $3.67 billion, compared with its previous revenue guidance of $3.72 billion to $3.77 billion, and adjusted EBITDA in the range of $605 million to $620 million...Read More »
Covanta Holding Corp. (Morristown, NJ) reported a wider first quarter loss of $0.21 per share versus last year's $0.09 per share on lower operating income and higher planned plant maintenance and higher interest expense from refinancings completed in 2012. Revenue declined by $19 million to $373 million from last year, the result of lower construction revenue due to increased maintenance activity. This was partially offset by higher energy prices and organic growth initiatives. During the quarter the company took steps to enhance its stock including repurchasing shares worth $24 million. As of Mar 31, 2013, the company had remaining share repurchase authorization of $126 million. The company also increased its dividend by 10% to 16.5 cents per share, resulting in an annualized payout of $0.66 per share...Read More »
A group of companies controlled by Clairvest Group Inc. (Toronto, ON) has invested $15 million in County Waste of Virginia, a private regional solid waste management company based in West Point, Virginia. Clairvest has made a number of other successful bets in the waste industry. Last year it sold its interest in Hudson Valley Waste Holding Inc. and its subsidiary, County Waste and Recycling Service Inc. to Waste Connections, essentially doubling its money after only one year. Earlier, the company tripled its money selling its stake in Long-Island, NY-based Winter Brothers to IESI in September, 2007. Clairvest subsidiaries Clairvest Equity Partners IV Limited Partnership and Clairvest Equity Partners IV-A Limited Partnership participated in the recent deal...Read More »
Two companies are partnering to develop a 90,000-sqare-foot solar-powered single-stream recycling facility in Massachusetts that will also produce a refuse derived fuel product. New Bedford Waste Services LLC (NBWS), a sister company of ABC Disposal Service Inc., New Bedford, MA, and WERC-2 Inc., Pocasset, MA are partnering to build the plant at the Rochester Environmental Park, a municipal solid waste and construction and demolition processing facility and transfer station in Rochester, MA which will be known as Zero Waste Solutions LLC (ZWS) and is slated to open by the summer of 2014. The facility will accept municipal solid waste, construction and demolition debris, single-stream recyclables, commingled recyclables and source-separated recyclables. It will also employ WERC-2's process to produce Eco-Tac fuel briquettes, a solid fuel product that, according to the company, burns, handles and stores like high-Btu coal but with far less emissions. For example, it produces 80 percent less sulfur dioxide and mercury and about 20 percent less carbon dioxide...Read More »
It is a cautionary tale of technology wrought by luddites. The Director of an Ohio solid waste authority has been ousted for misdirecting an inflammatory email. In his email to Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) board chairman Bradley Frick, executive director Ron Mills criticized Franklin County commissioner John O'Grady for looking like "the Village Idiot" for his remarks regarding the recent departure of two high level SWACO staffers. Mills inadvertently forwarded the email to O'Grady. In the email, Mills also said "This is the kind of crap the public can expect when they elect a bartender as their County Commissioner." O'Grady had been the owner of a local bar. Although Frick remains on the board, he was removed as its chairman...Read More »
WCA Waste Corp. (Houston, TX) has recently acquired Automated Waste Services (AWS) of Springfield, Missouri. AWS provides solid waste, recycling, and green waste collection to residential customers in Springfield, MO and Greene County.
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. WCA Waste went private in March 2012 when it was acquired by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners for $526 million...Read More »