Investors Ask SEC for Better Disclosure from Covanta, Other Biomass Firms

Allan Gerlat, News Editor

November 21, 2013

1 Min Read
Investors Ask SEC for Better Disclosure from Covanta, Other Biomass Firms

A group of investors is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to review filings of three companies, including waste-to-energy firm Covanta Holding Corp., about potentially misleading statements about the benefits of biomass energy.

The 15 investment firms, representing $100 billion in assets, sent a letter to the Washington-based SEC indicating that the biomass companies failed to disclose key information about environmental impacts, expected regulations and financial risks, according to a news release.

The other companies besides Morristown, N.J.-based Covanta are Dominion Resources Inc. and Southern Co. All operate wood-burning biomass power plants in the U.S.

The nonprofit Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) reviewed corporate disclosures by the three companies to determine whether their statements about the environmental risks of biomass energy complied with SEC requirements. The findings were summarized in a report that went to the SEC along with the letter from investors.

The investors’ letter to the SEC states:  “[T]he industry appears to have failed to live up to its obligations for accurate and nonmisleading disclosure …  Bioenergy should be required by the SEC to compete for investment dollars without materially exaggerating its value to the environment, or concealing its weaknesses and uncertainties.”

The letter requests that the SEC clarify what companies are allowed to claim in relation to the climate benefits and “carbon neutrality” of biomass energy.    

The PFPI provides science and legal support for citizen groups, environmental organizations and policymakers.

About the Author(s)

Allan Gerlat

News Editor, Waste360

Allan Gerlat joined the Waste360 staff in September 2011 as news editor. He was the editor of Waste & Recycling News for the first 16 years of its history, and under his guidance the publication won 27 national and regional awards.

Before Waste & Recycling News, Allan worked at another Crain Communications publication, Rubber & Plastics News, which covers rubber product manufacturing. He began with the publication as associate editor and eventually became managing editor, a position he held for nine years.

Allan is a graduate of Ohio University, where he earned a BS in journalism. He is based in Sagamore Hills, in northeast Ohio.

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