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Articles from 2005 In August

Waste Management Settles Lawsuit

Chicago -- Waste Management has settled with a lawsuit with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against four former executives who were accused of accounting fraud that took place in the 1990s. The company, which was not charged in the lawsuit, will pay $26.8 million in penalities. The former executives, including former CEO Dean Buntrock, are barred from holding an executive position in a public company and will pay an additional $4 million. A fifth officer, former CFO James E. Koenig, will continue fighting the charges and did not take part in the settlement.

The SEC accused the company of fraud in 2002. The purported accounting misrepresentation cost shareholders an estimated $6 billion. In the settlement, the executives and the company admit no wrongdoing.

Massachusetts to Expand Grocery Store Composting Program

Boston -- The Massachussetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and a supermarket industry group have signed an agreement that encourages grocery stores to increase their composting efforts. The Massachusetts Food Association and the DEP will work to expand the Supermarket Organics Recycling Network (SORN) by encouraging grocery stores compost items such as spoiled fruits and vegetables, deli waste, floral waste and waxed cardboard. The DEP will provide technical assistance to starts that want to start composting programs and will establish a certification program.

Food and bulk-packaging waste accounts for up to 90 percent of materials that supermarkets have traditionally thrown away. The 57 stores that participated in SORN last year each saved an average of $45,000 in disposal costs.

Waste Management Sued Over Contract

Chicago – Several Chicago-area minority-owned businesses have filed suit against Houston-based Waste Management (WM) over a subcontract the company awarded that was intended for minority- and women-owned companies. According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit claims that WM had knowledge that they awarded a $74 million subcontract to a business that was certified by Chicago as a minority-owned business, but is owned by James Duff, a white contractor with political connections. The suit, which plaintiffs hope to seek class-action status for, was filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Duff was sentenced earlier this year to 10 years in prison after he admitted he had lied to government officials to get contracts reserved for minorities. Federal prosecutors did not accuse WM of any wrongdoing in that case. James Berry, a former WM executive, received immunity from prosecution for testifying that the company awarded the subcontract to Duff’s company even though he knew that the company falsely claimed to be minority-owned.

A spokesman for Waste Management declined to speak with the Associated Press for the article because the company had not yet reviewed the lawsuit.

Covanta to Expand Florida WTE Facility

Fairfield, N.J. -- Covanta Energy Corp. has announced a contract to operate and run a $106 million expansion of the Hillsborough County, Fla., solid waste energy recovery facility. The facility processes 372,000 tons of residential and commercial solid waste each year. With the planned expansion, the facility’s processing capability will increase by 190,000 tons annually.

Covanta’s previous 20-year contract with the county to build and operate the facility, which opened in 1987, has been extended for an additional 20 years. The company plans to begin construction in mid to late 2006, with completion expected within 28 months.

NRC to Present Annual Awards Next Week

Washington – The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) will present its annual wards Aug. 30 and Aug. 31 at its Annual Congress and Exposition in Minneapolis. The awards honor individuals and organizations with outstanding recycling programs. The winners are: the Tim McClure Award for Outstanding Environmental and Community Leadership — Recycle Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Mich.; the Beth Brown Boettner Award for Outstanding Public Education — The City of Frisco, Texas; Outstanding K-12 School Program — Parkway School District, Chesterfield, Mo.; Best Local Elected Recycling Leader — Jim Kordiak, Commissioner, Anoka County, Minn.; Recycler of the Year - Lifetime Achievement: Mary Appelhof, Kalamazoo, Mich.; --Outstanding Recycling Innovation — Product or Process: C&A, a Tandus company, Dalton, Ga.; Outstanding Market Development Award — Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Compost Rebate Program, Des Moines, Iowa; Outstanding College or University Program — Miami University of Ohio, Miami Recycles! Program, Oxford, Ohio; Outstanding Community or Government Program — Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, Greenfield, Mass.; the Fred Schmitt Award for Outstanding Corporate Leadership — Brewer Science Inc., Rolla, Mo.; Recycling Organization of the Year — Recycling Association of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minn.

NRC also will present $1,000 scholarships from its National Recycling Trust Fund to Melanie Sorensen, Hamline University, and Emily Horth, the University of St. Thomas.

Tentative Agreement for Lowry Landfill Superfund Cleanup

Denver -- The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced a $13.9 million settlement for the cleanup of the Lowry Landfill Superfund site near Denver. Under the consent decree filed Monday, the city and county of Denver, Waste Management of Colorado Inc. and six other companies will refund the federal government money already spent on the cleanup. The defendants also must continue cleanup at the 508-acre site and pay costs incurred by the federal government in future dealings with the site. Estimated long-term maintenance is expected to cost $43 million and last more than 30 years.

The Lowry Landfill is one of the nation’s largest Superfund sites, according to that Department of Justice. The department and the EPA filed the initial complaint against the site in 2002, but the investigation and cleanup of the improperly disposed liquid industrial waste has been underway for more than 20 years.

The consent decree, filed in district court in Denver, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

Former Chairman Resigns from WM Board

Houston -- Robert "Steve" Miller has resigned from Houston-based Waste Management's board of directors. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission today, Miller is leaving to concentrate on his new position as chairman and chief executive officer for Troy, Mich.-based Delphi Corp. Miller, who has been a board member since 1997, briefly acted as interim chief executive officer and chairman of the board for the company in 1999.

SWANA Announces 2005 Professional Achievement Winners

The Executive Committee of the Silver Spring, Md.-based Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) International Board has named the recipients of this year’s Professional Achievement Awards. The awards recognize individual achievement and commitment to SWANA and its goals as well as to the advancement of sound solid waste management.

The award winners are as follows: Professional Achievement Award — Public Member: William Merry, assistant general manager of the Monterey (Calif.) Regional Waste Management District; Professional Achievement Award — Private Member: Jim Caron, president and CEO of Caron Compactor Co., Escalon, Calif.; Professional Achievement Award — Retired Member: Arnold “Duffy” Thompson, landfill supervisor, Stanislaus County, Calif.; and Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award: John Lackie, solid waste supervisor (retired), Barrie, Ontario, Canada.

Brake Safety Awareness Week Set For Late August

From Sunday, August 28, through Saturday, Sept. 3, Brake Safety Awareness Week will take place across North America at truck stops and other locations where drivers and mechanics gather. The week will focus on the importance of proper vehicle brake inspection, maintenance and operation. The week is part of Operation Air Brake, a campaign sponsored by the Washington-based Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. For more information, visit http://www.cvsa.org/latestnews/cvsa_latestnews.cfm.