The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County has abandoned its 13-year quest to develop a mammoth rail-served landfill at Eagle Mountain, about 100 miles to the east, near the Joshua Tree National Park. The site is currently owned by Ontario-based Mine Reclamation Corp. (MRC). The 4,654-acre landfill would have taken up to 20,000 tons of waste per day brought by rail from communities in Los Angeles County. The fate of the site, which was formerly an iron mine owned by Kaiser Steel, has been disputed and litigated since the early 90s. Kaiser Steel declared bankruptcy in 1987. Its successor company, Kaiser Ventures, now owns a majority interest in MRC.
The Sanitation Districts decision to abandon the scheme seems to be the direct result of unsuccessful resolution of ongoing federal litigation which prevented the transfer of entitlements and requisite permits. They also attribute it to other factors including changes in the solid waste market and the challenging solid waste management goals facing Los Angeles County cities...Read More »
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's is optimistic about the waste industry having raised its 12-month outlook from neutral to positive. They believe that the recovering economy will allow higher pricing that will drive top-line organic growth even though commercial and residential collection volumes are expected to remain somewhat soft. However, industrial volume, in which they include construction and demolition (C&D) wastes, will rise in accordance with the recovering housing market. Recycling prices have stabilized and are expected to improve later in the year and into 2014.
The haulers will likely continue to divest underperforming assets in favor of accretive acquisitions. The pace of acquisitions could pick up as smaller operators tire of operating in a soft environment and as private equity firms revive their interest in the industry. The haulers will likely deploy cash flow not used for acquisitions to reduce debt and repurchase stock. They will also continue to enhance customer service to maintain a high retention rate amid rising prices...Read More »
In a 10 to 8 vote along party lines, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the nomination of Gina McCarthy to serve as the next administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but a full senate vote on her nomination is being obstructed by Republicans who may resort to filibuster among other maneuvers to delay that vote. During the committee vote, ranking minority member Senator David Vitter (R-LA) said that there has been "meaningful progress" in his efforts to get answers to some questions from McCarthy about the transparency of communications at EPA, but he is still suggesting that a filibuster is a possibility if he doesn't get all the answers he wants...Read More »
Republic Services, Inc. (Phoenix, AZ) has opened a new 2,037-acre state-of-the-art landfill and transfer station in southern Texas to meet the Rio Grande Valley's waste needs for the next 100 years. It is permitted to accept municipal solid waste, liquids, green waste and special waste and replaces Republic's Rio Grande Valley Landfill in Donna, TX, that has been filled to capacity. Both the landfill and the 14,000-square-foot transfer station will accept material from residents, contractors, third-party waste haulers, as well as from Republic's local operations...Read More »
The City of Detroit, MI is moving ahead with plans to build a $683 million facility that will convert biosolids into energy and fertilizer products. The City Council voted 6-2 earlier this month in favor of the facility, which would be the largest of its kind in the country. It is expected to be built near an existing wastewater treatment plant. State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr is negotiating a 20-year contract with New England Fertilizer Co. (Quincy, MA) which would build and operate the plant. The deal is expected to save the city $330 million in operating costs and bring it into compliance with new air emission standards that go into effect in 2016...Read More »
The daughter of a Waste Management Inc. driver won the nationwide singing title for Season 12 of the reality talent show American Idol. Candice Glover, 23, is the daughter of Waste Management employee John "Ricky" Glover, who resides in Hilton Head, SC. The young Glover said she is inspired by singers such as Christina Aguilera and Jazmine Sullivan. She became the first female singer in six years to win the American Idol title. She was cheered on by Waste Management's 44 thousand employees, and many others. The company started a Facebook page to support Glover throughout the competition...Read More »
Fulcrum BioEnergy, which converts waste to biofuels, will use a new grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to develop renewable drop-in biofuels for aircraft. The DoD awarded Fulcrum $4.7 million in funding which the company will match from its own capital to help complete the development of its first municipal solid waste (MSW) to jet fuel plant. The company claims to have recently completed a demonstration of its drop-in fuel process using a plant in North Carolina. The goal is to produce jet fuel at a lower cost to the military, and with fewer carbon emissions than petroleum jet fuel. "Fuel diversity adds an integral component to our business plan," said E. James Macias, Fulcrum's president. "Our process is now capable of producing jet fuel, diesel and ethanol from residential garbage that would otherwise be landfilled." The plant is to be located somewhere the company has already secured MSW under long-term, fixed, zero-cost feedstock contracts...Read More »
Taking a cue from some other large waste haulers, Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (Toronto, ON) plans to significantly expand its fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. In Canada where the company boasts of having the largest such fleet, it operates 110 CNG vehicles representing 10 percent of its fleet, and plans to increase that number to 150 vehicles by the end of the year. By 2014, 50 to 55 percent of the total number of vehicles it purchases in the normal course of fleet replacement will be CNG-fueled. A new waste or recycling collection truck powered by CNG typically costs about 15 percent more than a conventional diesel powered truck. But, natural gas prices that are far lower than diesel along with government incentives for companies to green their fleets, provides an attractive economic incentive.
"Converting our fleet to natural gas helps municipalities meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reduces pollution in the neighborhoods we serve," said Dan Pio, Vice President and Canadian Chief Operating Officer, Progressive Waste Solutions. "We're on the brink of a monumental industry shift."...Read More »
ReEnergy Holdings LLC (Albany, NY) has opened 60-megawatt biomass facility at the site of a former coal plant. ReEnergy spent about $34 million converting the site which it acquired in March 2012. It will run on wood products and forestry residues that would have otherwise gone to area landfills and produce power with much lower emissions of mercury and sulfur dioxide than similar sized coal plant. The company will purchase about $11 million in wood per year from area logging companies. It has acquired several new wood chippers that it is making available to 14 logging companies in a lease-to-own program.
Currently, power will be sold to the local grid while the company negotiates with the Department of Defense to power the US Army's Fort Drum base nearby. The 2007 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Department of Defense to obtain 25 percent of its power needs from renewable sources...Read More »
US Ecology, Inc. (Boise, ID), which manages hazardous and industrial wastes, named Jeffrey R. Feeler as its new CEO. Feeler previously was acting president and chief operating officer, a job he took in October, after former President, CEO and COO James R. Baumgardner agreed to leave his job. Feeler started at US Ecology in 2006 as vice president, chief accounting officer, treasurer and controller. He was promoted in 2007 to vice president and chief financial officer...Read More »