Weekly News Bulletin: Jun. 21-27, 2016


EPA Finalizes Landfill Methane Rules

This week the EPA sent its final rules tightening controls on controlling methane from new and existing landfills to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, ahead of a July 14 deadline. The rules consist of a new source performance standards (NSPS) rule for new and modified landfills and also a rule revising emission guidelines for existing landfills. The revisions are in response to a 2011 petition from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) demanding a lower threshold at which facilities must capture methane emissions. EPA has a statutory duty to review and if necessary revise NSPS rules eight years after their issuance, but failed to do so for the landfill NSPS, which it issued in 1996. EPA proposed changes to the NSPS in August 2015. EPA has no statutory duty to revise the emissions guidelines for existing sources but did so anyway. Under the proposed rules, landfills would be required to capture landfill gases emitted above a threshold of 34 metric tons of methane which is significantly lower than the existing 50-ton threshold...Read More »



Experts Challenge EPA's Numbers on Recycling Rates

A pair of consulting firms has published a white paper that challenges some common assumptions about the rate of recycling in the US and suggests a better calculation methodology. In the paper "Demystifying MSW Recycling Rates" authors Bill Moore of Moore & Associates and Peter Engel of Kessler Consulting Inc. estimate that 24.1% of MSW along with 7.7% of organics is recycled for a total of 31.8%, which is less than EPA's 34.4% recovery rate. The paper elaborates that any comparison between local and national recycling will be inaccurate because of the often very different methods used to calculate recovery rates. The paper also distinguishes between residential and industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) sectors saying that 60% of MSW is generated by the ICI sector versus 40% by the residential sector. Yet the ICI sector recovers 31% of its MSW or twice as much as the residential sector whose materials recovery rate is closer to 14%, the study estimates...Read More »



Group Sees E-waste Export as Threat to National Security

A recycling advocacy group, which has always opposed the export of used electronics (e-waste), is switching tactics. The Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER), which had previously sought to amend existing environmental law, now aims to change export law. Fueling this change is concern that e-waste is being used as a feedstock in counterfeited electronic components coming primarily from China, according to a May 25 press release. The coalition has long argued legislation is needed to shut off e-waste dumping on developing countries and boost job growth in the US. In past proposals, CAER obtained bipartisan backing on amending the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) that would have barred the export of "restricted electronic waste" from the US to developing countries, while increasing EPA's authority to regulate it. For that reason, it was opposed by a scrap industry association. Under a new approach, CAER is proposing legislation, dubbed the Secure E-Waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA), that would amend the Export Administration Act, which regulates exports based on national security and for foreign policy reasons...Read More »



EPA Finalizes International Waste Shipment Rule

This week the EPA sent a final rule to update the requirements for import and export shipments of hazardous waste to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for interagency review. The rule aims to streamline requirements for trans-boundary shipments and better track imports and exports of hazardous waste. It does so by harmonizing requirements among OECD nations, enabling electronic submittal of export- and import-related documents, and electronic validation of consent in the Automated Export System (AES) for Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) consent requirements. This follows a draft version of the rule issued last September. "When hazardous waste is shipped across multiple countries there can be a higher risk of mismanagement from unsafe transport, recycling and disposal practices," EPA waste chief Mathy Stanislaus said in a press release at that time. The rule will affect businesses that ship RCRA-regulated hazardous wastes, universal wastes, and special wastes such as batteries to a different country for recycling, reclamation, or disposal...Read More »



Fortistar Modernizes Los Angeles Landfill Energy Project

Fortistar (White Plains, NY) announced that it has upgraded its Lopez Canyon Landfill (Lake View Terrace, CA) methane gas-to-energy plant. It will generate 3 megawatts (MW) of electrical power for the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) under contract for the next 20 years. Fortistar is in the midst of a $3 million upgrade of the power station that includes landfill gas compression systems, two low-emission diesel engines and transmission infrastructure. The Lopez Canyon Landfill, which opened in 1975 and closed in 1996, holds 19 million tons of waste. The Lopez Energy project is the only landfill gas (LFG) renewable energy project in the City of Los Angeles Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program, which promotes active investment in and promotion of renewable energy sources. LADWP ultimately hopes to meet the state-mandated goal of 33 percent renewable energy by 2020...Read More »



Environmental Group Critical of TVA Coal Ash Plan

Environmental groups are criticizing the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA's) plan to remediate coal ash sites to meet new EPA regulations adopted following the December 2008 disaster in which a coal ash pond at its Kingston plant released 1.1 billon gallons of toxic sludge into nearby waterways.

In its final environmental impact study released this week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said it plans to spend $280 million and take up to 2.7 years to close and cap 10 coal ash ponds at a half dozen of its coal plants where the utility used wet ash storage...Read More »



Georgia Power to Spend $2 Billion Retiring Coal Ash Ponds

Georgia Power spending nearly $2 billion to retire all 29 of its coal ash ponds, 16 of which will be excavated and the ash sent to lined landfills. The 13 remaining sites will be capped with impermeable barriers. Georgia Power will equip the capped sites with more than 500 groundwater monitoring wells and submit those results to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) per federal requirements under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)...Read More »



FERC Grants Covanta Lease Extension for NJ Waste-to-Energy Facility

Covanta has been granted a 22-year extension to its lease for a 45-MW waste-to-energy power project in Rahway, N.J. by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The Covanta Holding Corp. subsidiary leases the facility from the Union County Utilities Authority. The facility, which began commercial operation in June 1994, processes about 1,500 tons of solid waste each day, converting it into enough electricity to power about 30,000 homes. The regulator last extended the lease in 2011 to run until December 15, 2031; the lease now extends to December 15, 2053, according to a June 20 release. The extension does not affect Covanta's control of the power plant, which sells its output into the PJM market, a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states...Read More »



Veolia North America Moving Headquarters to Boston

French conglomerate Veolia is moving its North American headquarters from Chicago to Boston. The company's North American subsidiary employs about 7,900 people in the management and development of energy, water and hazardous and industrial waste solutions. The company's move follows the February promotion of Boston executive Bill DiCroce to CEO. He said he expects to add 50 jobs over the next several years to the roughly 280 already in and around Boston. "We believe that Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area, with its commitment to sustainability and growing a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy, is a perfect fit with Veolia's mission of 'Resourcing the world'," said DiCroce...Read More »



Republic Services to Report 2nd Quarter Results on July 28

Republic Services, Inc. (Phoenix, AZ) said it will announce second quarter 2016 financial results after the close of the markets on July 28 to be followed by an investor conference call at 5 p.m. EDT...Read More »


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