February 17, 2010

Pollution Example from Operator of Proposed Poolbeg Incinerator: Oroville Power Incinerator

Has pollution increased since Covanta took over control of the Oroville Power Incinerator?

Covanta spin is that it is proud of its green reputation.  That's the talk.  The walk is that the Oroville Power Incinerator was shut down in January 2010, with the gates padlocked. 

In August 2009 there were strong local concerns about air quality [http://www.newsreview.com/chico/content?oid=1159491].  In February 2010 local government was  inspecting ash deposited in local orchards and elsewhere, and significantly saying nothing about the content of the ash.  Covanta located 3,000 miles away in the beautiful garden state of New Jersey is reluctant to return phone calls to California journalists.

How does an alleged 'green reputation' match up with no governmental air quality inspection in Oroville not just for the last 22 hours, but for the last twenty two years?  Why is the plant shut down?  What did government officials find in the ash?  Were toxins spread into the air for economic reasons?  The original owner of the plant burned wood chips.  What 'economic reasons' have happened since Covanta purchased the incinerator?

Covanta has owned the waste-fueled power plant in Oroville, California, since 1997.  The original owners of the incinerator burned wood chips.  Now under new ownership and apparently for 'economic' reasons, less than robustly sorted building waste is imported, burned, and pumped up the chimney stacks.  Supposedly the waste is sorted before burning.  In California those dirty jobs typically go to minimum wage workers or to undocumented aliens picked up in the morning by a subcontractor off a street lineup.  

Economics forced [Oroville Power Incinerator] to find alternative sources of fuel,” said McLaughlin.
Bob McLaughlin, air pollution officer, Air Quality Management District
Years ago there was some pooled-source testing done that looked at air toxics, dioxins, furans, PCBs, and different types of metals you generally find in these operations,” he said. “We completed a health-risk assessment to see if it posed a significant risk to the public. Our conclusion was that … no, it doesn’t.”
Bob McLaughlin, air pollution officer, Air Quality Management District

Note the word "significant" as used by the public official.  Then think about what that really means.  And guess where any public official with waste industry experience might be persuaded to work in the future.

District inspectors make spot visits to check fuel contents and emissions, but a full evaluation of just what comes out of the Oroville exhaust stacks has not been conducted since 1988.

Oroville Power Incinerator's plant manager, Francisco Beraga, directed all questions to Covanta’s corporate offices in New Jersey. Calls there had not been returned by press time on August 27, 2009.

If you really really think you'll get any answers give Vera a call.  

Vera Carley, Covanta Energy
00-1-973- 882-2439

 N&R This article was printed from the Local Stories
section of the Chico News & Review, originally published August 27, 2009.
This article may be read online at:
Copyright ©2010 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.

Something’s burning

Oroville cogeneration plant spices up its fuel load. But is it safe?

By Tom Gascoyne


A pile of crates, pallets and other urban byproducts from points unknown awaits incineration at the Pacific Oroville Power Inc. cogeneration plant.

Photo By Dugan Gascoyne

For the past 25 years, a cogeneration plant in Oroville has burned biofuel in a controlled environment to make electricity that is then sold to Pacific Gas & Electric—enough, it is said, to supply power to 20,000 homes.

But lately the fuel mixture used to create that energy has changed, and some local officials are concerned.
The plant, Pacific Oroville Power Inc., or POPI, sits on 30 acres just south of downtown Oroville in the heart of the Highway 70 Industrial Park. That park is a cobbled hotspot of toxic waste that over the years has been home to three federal Superfund cleanup sites.

POPI’s parent company, Covanta, owns more than 30 other cogeneration facilities across the country, including a number in California, and has investments in similar plants in Europe and China.

The Oroville facility received its permit to operate in 1983. Initially, the plant burned wood chips generated from local timber harvests. But as the lumber industry declined, the plant began burning agricultural waste to ensure its fuel supply; its incinerators consume a demanding 28 tons of fuel an hour.

Now, apparently, to keep those fires burning, the plant incinerates the waste of demolished buildings trucked here from hundreds of miles away.

The facility is self-monitored for the most part, recording the type of fuel purchased and brought in for consumption, as well as the byproduct emitted from its exhaust stacks. POPI supplies this data annually to the Butte County Air Quality Management District (AQMD).
District inspectors make spot visits to check fuel contents and emissions, but a full evaluation of just what comes out of those exhaust stacks has not been conducted since 1988.

On a recent summer day the site was a stark field of straggly brown weeds, cobblestone and barren dirt framed behind a 10-foot-tall cyclone fence topped with strands of barbed wire. Bulky dump trucks and yellow bulldozers rumbled and snorted next to huge loads of debarked logs, hills of wood chips and an enormous pile of broken pallets, twisted boxes, broken doors and busted-up crates.
Local officials have come to learn that up to one-third of the plant’s fuel now consists of what is euphemistically called “urban wood waste,” which is basically the remains of demolished buildings.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said last week that his office made this discovery when a DA investigator driving past the plant noticed clouds of dust blowing off the piles of fuel and drifting down from the conveyor belt that runs overhead to feed the furnaces.
“There was quite a bit of dust blowing into the neighborhood,” Ramsey said. “So we contacted the Air Quality Management District and said, ‘This looks to be a problem.’

“They checked on it and then found an additional problem of dirty debris that’s coming up from the Bay Area as part of the fuel load.”
The “dirty debris,” Ramsey said, includes contaminants like plastic and other potentially toxic materials.

“It’s urban demolition,” the DA explained. “Lots of different stuff that is supposed to be taken out of the load, which is supposed to be inspected when it comes in.”

The company’s offices on South Fifth Avenue.

Photo By Dugan Gascoyne

When contacted, POPI’s plant manager, Francisco Beraga, directed all questions to Covanta’s corporate offices in New Jersey. Calls there had not been returned by press time.

Dimitri Stanich, press information officer for the state Air Resources Board, said there are 35 air-quality-management districts in California, and each sets its own standards for air emissions. It is well known that Butte County has some of the dirtiest air in the state.

This raises the question: Is it simply easier and cheaper to ship demolished building debris to Butte County for disposal? The answer isn’t clear.

AQMD officials, Ramsey said, are now examining the cogeneration plant’s permit and looking to tighten up their inspections of the facility.
He also said that recently he and AQMD officials met with the vice president of Covanta, which is reportedly one of the largest energy companies in the world.
“They indicated that they are quite proud of their green reputation and do not want anything to happen to diminish that reputation,” Ramsey said. “So we’re saying, ‘Well, here is a problem.’
“They seem to be cooperative at this point in terms of open inspections; they’ve asked for our investigator to come by, and they are cooperating with the inspectors from the Air Quality Management District.”
Bob McLaughlin, assistant air pollution control officer at AQMD, said the plant’s permit to operate allows up to 30 percent urban wood waste as fuel. And up to 3 percent of that can be foreign debris including tarpaper, nails and plastic.
Sitting at a table in a large conference room in the AQMD offices off The Skyway in southeast Chico, McLaughlin had in front of him a stack of documents, including POPI’s permit to operate. The room’s plate-glass windows look northeast to the foothills, which on this day were shrouded in a smoky haze from fires burning in the Feather River Canyon.
The idea, he began, is that it’s better to burn waste in a controlled environment than to send it off to be buried in the state’s fast-filling landfills or allowed to smolder in the open air.
“Economics forced [POPI] to find alternative sources of fuel,” said McLaughlin, who’s been with the AQMD for 18 years. He pointed out that urban wood waste is supposed to be sifted for impurities before it is used as fuel.
“We’ve seen an increase in the last several years in the amount of urban waste being burned and haven’t found any issues with [POPI’s] permit,” McLaughlin said. “I’m not seeing that they are burning material not allowed under the permit.”
McLaughlin said the air district uses “pooled-source testing,” which means using test data from nearby facilities similar in size and fuel consumption to determine if the Butte County plant is meeting its permit requirements.
“Years ago there was some pooled-source testing done that looked at air toxics, dioxins, furans, PCBs, and different types of metals you generally find in these operations,” he said. “We completed a health-risk assessment to see if it posed a significant risk to the public. Our conclusion was that … no, it doesn’t.”
McLaughlin said he is unsure where the urban wood waste burned in Butte County originates. “We are talking with the facility to try to get a better handle on where this material is coming from,” he said.
POPI has been cooperative with AQMD, McLaughlin said, and the district is keeping an eye on the company’s operations.
“I actually went out and went through the plant myself a couple of weeks ago and looked at the fuel quality,” he said. “It was actually more of a way to identify opportunities where the facility might do a better job in controlling their emissions.
“We think we need to protect the health of the citizens of Butte County. I mean that is our job. But we also need this kind of facility. As long as they comply with their permit and we have test data that show it is not a significant health risk, we think they should be allowed to continue to do that.”

February 16, 2010

Covanta Imports Will Increase Bin Charges

Paul Gilman, a senior vice president with Covanta, said his company can't afford to bring waste from long distances to Chester County, S Carolina:


"The economics of building a facility like this and trying to attract imported waste just doesn't work," Gilman said, explaining that his company will compete with landfill corporations for a slice of the garbage pie in South Carolina.

For much of the past two months, Covanta has quietly pitched its plan to state regulators, newspaper editors, environmentalists and lawmakers - including Scott and Sen. Creighton Coleman, whose district includes Chester County.

Implication for Poolbeg Incinerator:  Mr Gilman's statement obviously means Covanta will force increased bin charges to import waste by ship to Dublin.  However this is hidden in a secret contract.  Annual bin charges of €500 to €700 across Ireland can not be ruled out by 2013.

Paul Gilman, Another Revolving Door Man.
  • Former science adviser for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Senior vice president with Covanta.


Blacksploitation:  The first time a British flag was taken down and replaced by an American flag was in Charleston in 1775.  Chester County is located in the former slave state of South Carolina.  The per capita income for the county was €10,900 ($14,709). About 11.90% of families and 15.30% of the population were below the poverty line. 

The Chester County unemployment rate is 22%, a perfect place for Covanta's spin about "jobs", cynically delivered by local politicians.  S.C. legislators are being asked to loosen state rules so a New Jersey company can build a $450 million garbage incinerator in jobs-hungry Chester County.  

"They're looking to use little South Carolina as a place to unload their garbage," said Susan Corbett, a top official with the state Sierra Club.

February 14, 2010

Another Covanta Contract Dispute, New York State.

Covanta is in another dispute about interpretation of a contract for payments for waste.



CA 09-01352.

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Fourth Department.

Decided February 11, 2010.

February 12, 2010

DCC's Big Lie: 'Incineration Vindicated by ESRI'

Big Lie: Paid-for ESRI report vindicates the proposed Poolbeg Incinerator.
Truth:  DCC's secret incinerator contract will probably prevent recycling, as a Covanta contract just did in Florida.
[Because of Covanta Contract] "...we're also not promoting recycling in a big way right now."   - Waste Boss Daryl Smith, Lake County, Florida.  Dec 2009.

Big Lie: Energy from the incineration of Dublin’s organic waste will provide about 52 MW of electricity.
Truth:  Incineration is a wanton waste of a great resource.  [See letter below].


Letter, Irish Times.   Emphasis added.


It was considered that the ESRI report, commissioned by the Dublin City Council (DCC) vindicated the recommendation of the council engineers and executive to proceed with plans for an incinerator at Poolbeg. However, questions have been raised about significant matters in the report.

During the past two years I have repeatedly invited the DCC executive to engage in an open debate regarding the wisdom of spending more than €300 million on a technology that is being rapidly outdated. Invariably they have refused. I now read that the Dublin City Council has paid €21 million (€15 million more than originally agreed) to their consultant advisers who would seem to recommend the construction of the incinerator facility at Poolbeg.

My colleagues and I would have been willing, in the course of debate, to offer advice free because we believe that incineration is a wanton waste of a great resource. Had the €21 million been spent on well-directed research it is highly likely there would be available now a technology that could provide an equitable solution for the so-called “waste” issue.

The views expressed here reflect what we are learning from work at our Carbolea Centre. That work has been, and is being supported by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources, Enterprise Ireland, the EPA, and the European Union, and Science Foundation Ireland. Our research has taught us that the so-called organic waste can have enormous value.

It is claimed the energy from the incineration of Dublin’s organic waste will provide about 52 MW of electricity. Up to 80 per cent of that energy will be provided by the plastics (which of course can be profitably recycled) in the materials provided. We have not been informed of the energy value from the incineration of the wet, non-plastic containing incinerator feedstock.

Our studies show that the so-called wastes contain significant amounts (30-50 per cent) of carbohydrates, some of which can be biologically digested. The carbohydrates that resist biological (or enzymatic) transformations, when subjected to second generation biorefining processes, can provide a range of fuels, fuel additives, and platform chemicals for manufacturing industries whose raw materials are now sourced in petroleum and petrochemicals.

In addition, the residual materials, when subjected to pyrolysis technologies, yield syngas, bio-oil, and biochar. The syngas can be used as a source of energy or made into valuable chemical products. The bio-oil can be upgraded to diesel-additive standard, and the biochar enhances plant growth and resists biodegradation in the amended soils.

The appropriate utilisation of Dublin city waste could lead to significant employment opportunities. It should not be necessary for Dublin residents to pay for the “disposal” of their so-called waste. Instead it should be possible to pay a gate fee for the feedstock.

Thus, the incinerator will become a white elephant. The operators will not worry, because they are guaranteed not to lose money in the operation. Again, I invite DCC members to open debate on this. We will not charge for the advice we will give that can be of benefit to Dublin residents, and to those in any urban area for which incineration is being considered.

Yours, etc,


MRIA, Research Professor,

Carbolea Group,

CES Department,

University of Limerick.

DCC Untruths Exposed Again.

It seems Dublin City Council is arrogantly disregarding Judge McKechnie.  Massaging of the truth is still being placed into the public domain, misleading the public.

Dublin Council or its expensive agents have placed this Big Lie into the public domain.  Here's the Big Lie and the more likely full truth:

  • Big Lie: Dublin Local authorities currently send 735,000 tonnes of waste to landfill.
  • Truth: less than 300,000 tonnes are available to the Dublin local authorities.

Unacceptable Influence
"Massaging of reports by Matt Twomey, which were later, in their edited versions, released publicly, is a strong indicator to me of unacceptable influence in a process supposedly carried out in the public interest."  Judge McKechnie said in his unapproved judgment.  [Sunday Business Post]


Irish Times Letter, Feb 12, 2010.  Emphasis added.



Frank McDonald, in his excellent article (Opinion, February 11th) refers to the 735,000 tonnes of waste from Dublin that is currently sent to landfill. There is a common misconception that the four Dublin local authorities are charged with providing a facility to manage all of that waste.

In reality, the local authorities are only responsible for managing the waste that they collect and the latest data from their 2009 Annual Progress Report shows that they landfilled less than 300,000 tonnes of waste that they collected in 2008.

The private sector waste companies are responsible for management of the remaining waste and they are currently developing an incinerator and four Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) Plants in the Greater Dublin Area to manage the residual waste that they collect and own (as determined by the recent High Court judgment in the Panda case).

The required capacity to treat 735,000 tonnes per annum will be provided by a range of facilities and this will ensure that waste is managed in a competitive environment with obvious cost benefits for the public.

I hope this helps to clarify a rather complex situation, which we suggest has been over-simplified by Dublin City Council and their consultants. Our analysis confirms that the facility is needed, but at half the scale currently proposed.

– Yours, etc,
Technical Director,
SLR Consulting,
Dundrum Business Park,
Windy Arbour, Dublin 14.

February 11, 2010

DDDA Greed Wrecks School

Mr Ó Ríordáin said 'the children of both schools have been betrayed by the reckless and disgusting greed of those who have now gambled away the educational future of the very communities they were established to protect'.


 Dublin Docklands Developers Autocracy needs to be totally shut down.  Merging DDDA into another Green-FF quango or into Dublin City Council would be as farcical as the continued existence of DDDA's property partner, the reckless speculator Anglo-Irish Bank.

February 7, 2010

FLORIDA: Articles about Covanta Incinerator in Florida

You are here: Sentinel HomeCollections→Incinerator


FEATURED ARTICLES (Many more at above url)


Incinerator Story Is One Of Public Betrayal

By Lauren Ritchie, Sentinel Columnist | October 29, 2003

Mystery has always enveloped Lake County's infamous deal to build a garbage-burning incinerator. Heck, those who were crafting the transaction over a few years didn't know which teams were on the field half the time, let alone who was on first. The landscape changed that fast. In the end, Lake County commissioners gave a company that became Covanta Energy a $200 million gift in the form of an incinerator, complete with all the bond financing, and operations and maintenance costs through 2014.


Incinerator Deal Makes Best Of Bad Situation

By Lauren Ritchie, Sentinel Columnist | October 26, 2003

The garbage-burning incinerator in Okahumpka has been to Lake taxpayers what bowling balls are to a drowning man when they're tied around his neck. Now, for the first time, a chance has emerged to clip the rope on that despicable deal. County commissioners will talk about it Monday and vote on it Tuesday if they like what they hear. This sounds like an easy decision, but it may not be. That's because they will be feeling all the same things buyers feel when they've just agreed to purchase a new car from a dealer.

$200M incinerator deal took Lake to cleaners, critics say

By Martin E. Comas, Sentinel Staff Writer | February 15, 2009

OKAHUMPKA -- It's a deal that many have called the biggest boondoggle in Lake's history because when the bonds are paid off for the Covanta Energy garbage-burning plant in June 2014, the county will not own the plant. It's also a deal that forced higher garbage rates and taxes on residents and businesses to cover all those costs. Because of today's slumping economy, it's particularly painful. "Under that crazy contract, it hurts," County Commission Chairman Welton Cadwell said. In 1985, county commissioners approved bringing a power-producing garbage incinerator into the area.


Lake's Covanta Lawsuit Rings Up Huge Bills With No End In Sight

By Kevin P. Connolly, Sentinel Staff Writer | April 14, 2002

TAVARES -- When Lake commissioners voted to sue the owner of the county's trash-burning incinerator nearly two years ago, they knew they were in for a long and costly fight to get a better deal for taxpayers. They were right. The fight to gain control of the incinerator from Covanta Energy, formerly Ogden Corp., has cost the county more than $1.5 million, making it the most expensive dispute in Lake County's history. Most of the money has gone to attorneys, county records show. The county's lead counsel on the case, the firm of GrayHarris Attorneys at Law, formerly Gray, Harris & Robinson, which has offices in Orlando, charges the county $175 an hour, plus expenses.

February 5, 2010

NEW YORK: Covanta's Polluting Trucks

Imagine up to 100 dirty diesel trucks per day sitting with their engines running for an hour pumping out unhealthy particles over a city.  Here's a story from Hempstead, New York.

November 2009.  Hempstead, NY:
  • officials of Covanta indicated that during peak hours, the trucks waiting to deliver garbage to the plant must wait at least an hour, during which time their diesel engines cannot be shut off

  • the stack is monitored only once a year by the State, the rest of the time the testing is done by an “independent” monitoring company paid by Covanta.

And imagine this in Poolbeg where air pollution standards have already been exceeded.   With the Financial Regulator or FAS doing de regulating.  Perhaps cleaner trucks will be used in Dublin and not just promised.  Perhaps effective and truly independent pollution monitoring will be done and reported in real time on-line.  This has not yet been decided, despite the spin initially presented at the DCC/RPS/Covanta "open day" in Dublin.


November 25, 2009
On November 19th and 20th, 2009 Covanta hosted an information session on its proposed expansion of the plant in Westbury, New York.  The exhibition consisted of various boards produced by Covanta outlining its proposal to expand the plant and basically, how wonderful it will be for the Town of Hempstead. Clearly the session was designed with the purpose of downplaying any potential concerns regarding the expansion of the plant.

Conversations with plant officials were informative since in order to oppose the expansion project, we must be knowledgable as what Covanta is actually proposing.  For example, the officials of Covanta indicated that during peak hours, the trucks waiting to deliver garbage to the plant must wait at least an hours, during which time their diesel engines cannot be shut off. When asked how this problem can be solved, the officials advised that they expect that all garbage trucks can be converted to natural gas fuel.  

When questioned about alternate entrances, we were told that if traffic signals are placed on Merchants Concourse, then the Department of Transportation has advised that the alternate Stewart Avenue entrance is not an option. If for some reason the expansion is approved, there would be no trucks running north of the plant on Merchants Concourse, but no other entrance for ingress and egress on Stewart Avenue.  Also interesting is the fact that the stack is monitored only once a year by the State, the rest of the time the testing is done by an “independent” monitoring company paid by Covanta.

While Covanta officials feel their science is accurate and that they have the solutions to all the issues brought up by comments to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, it is clear that a) the science is flawed and b) the solutions are not in the best interest of the community.

The accompanying pages have links to various organizations and treatises on how the emissions from the plant are damaging to our health.  One topic of considerable note is the effect of nano particles on our health.  There is an excellent link on the side panel that describes what nano particles are, with graphs, illustrations and charts and how they effect our health.

What you will find is that the smaller the particle, the less chance it has of being trapped at the plant and more chance it has to make its way into your bloodstream.  The larger the particle, the more chance it has of being trapped at the plant or being expelled from your airway at the upper part of the respiratory track.  Once in your bloodsream, the potential effects on your health are at least, not good.  So, please do not be taken in by claims that the plant expansion is not going to affect your health.  Charts and risk assessments are only that, they are guesses as to what will happen.  If we are going to guess what is going to happen, perhaps the guess should be made on the safe side, not on the side that makes Covanta millions.

February 4, 2010

CANADA- Stinky Covanta Deal

Orono Weekly Times Editorial

(Orono is Fifty miles from Toronto)

July 8, 2009

Covanta deal stinky

It wasn't long after the Region of Durham announced that Covanta Energy, a company based in New Jersey, was selected as the company to build and operate the proposed energy from waste facility that its sordid history also came to light.

A web search of Covanta Energy quickly reveals a history of complaints and fines for unsafe labour practices such as violating federal labour law at more than 50 locations across the US, and toxic emissions exceedances. And these are just the recent violations.

There was another host of violations which occurred prior to 2002 when the company filed for bankruptcy protection, from which they emerged in 2004.

At the June 24th Regional Council meeting, a representative of the Utility Workers of America informed councillors that on a number of occasions, Covanta was fined for violations of air pollution laws from state environmental authorities in several cities.

On April 2nd of this year, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) cited four other serious violations against Covanta, including, "maintaining electrical equipment with duct tape and cardboard” and “storing combustible acetylene cylinders next to oxygen cylinders."

In June of this year, OSHA issued new citations against Covanta for serious violations of federal safety rules at its waste incinerator in Rochester, Massachusetts, including an accumulation of fly ash on energized 208-volt electrical equipment, exposing workers to electrical hazards.

In May of this year, the U.S. Labour Board issued complaints against Covanta and its subsidiaries, challenging numerous illegal rules maintained by Covanta in its employee manuals.

In September 2008, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection found Covanta had exceeded the allowable emission rate of dioxins and furans at its Pittsfield incinerator by nearly 350 percent. It was further cited for failing to report other air quality violations at the same facility in January, February and March of 2008.

At a recent public meeting, a Covanta representative explained that many of the complaints against the company are a result of one of the labour unions taking a very combative stance against the company. Workers at the Covanta incinerator in Rochester voted in May 2008 for union representation. Covanta has yet to establish a collective agreement for those workers.

Whatever the reason, the picture is quite clear, the Region of Durham has entered into a long-term contract with a company that has very poor environmental and labour standards. Covanta's mission statement, taken from its web site, claims that in pursuing its mission of satisfying its clients' waste disposal needs, Covanta will employ outstanding people with the highest ethical standards.  

Earlier this year, Covanta hired Clarington’s former mayor John Mutton to lobby the Regional government on their behalf. This was the mayor who was ousted in the last election under a cloud of suspicion stemming from charges for allegedly assaulting his wife.

At the end of the trial, the judge did not find Mutton guilty as the testimony given by his wife and two daughters was inconsistent with the video taped testimony they gave police during the police investigation. The former mayor, who had no professional credentials when he left office in 2006, now includes a 'BSc.' and an 'eMBA' behind his name. It is obvious these credentials did not come from any legitimate degree-granting institution. The former mayor may have many outstanding qualities, but from our experience they do not include high ethical standards.

The business case for the proposed incinerator prepared for the Region in May 2008, put a price of $198 million on the cost of constructing the facility. The construction cost of the winning bid from Covanta was for $238 million. At the last Regional Council meeting, the cost quoted had risen to $272 million. We are already $50 over budget and we aren't even near putting the shovel in the ground yet.

There was a crisis-mode mentality around finding a solution to Durham's garbage management issue when, in 2006, Michigan state officials decided to close their border to Ontario garbage in 2010.

Under the deal with Covanta, the residual ash from the incinerator will be disposed of by Covanta at its landfill facility in New York State. It will also provide interim landfill for our waste at its New York facility until it gets the incinerator up and running.

While Covanta officials may be able to explain away some of their reported environmental and labour violations, there are just too many citations to leave them with a lily-white reputation in the garbage industry. One can't help but sense there is a whole lot more than garbage that stinks around this deal.

Orono Weekly Times not available online. Subscription info:
$38.09 + $1.91 GST = $40.00 per year, 48 issues annually.

Orono Weekly Times
5310 Main St., P.O. Box 209
Orono, ON L0B 1M0

email: oronotimes@rogers.com
Phone/Fax: 00-1-905-983-5301

CALIFORNIA: Toxic Ash Found In California? Ask Covanta's Vera Carley

What will Covanta do with the toxic ash from the proposed Poolbeg Incinerator?  Export it to Cork?  Spread it over orchards?  Feed it to dioxin-free-pigs in Ireland? Or dioxin-free-buffalo in Italy? Of course not.  But nobody knows either - the promoters are staying stum.

Dumping dodgy ash in California is not a good idea. People in California's land  of milk and honey have issues with Covanta's lovely and environmentally awesome ash [Jan 28, 2010]. They've even switched off a power plant in Oroville, 120 miles from San Francisco.  Questions from locals are passed off 'back east' to a phone number 3,000 miles away, and it seems there is nobody answering during the daytime, never mind at three in the morning.  Skype Covanta yourself: 00-1-973- 882-2439.

If you really really think you'll get an answer about whether the California ash is good ash or very very bad ash give Vera a call.  Start off on a light note with Vera by joking about Billy Leotardo's ashes up on the mantlepiece in New Jersey.  Ask is Covanta better than PG&E.  Ask about Covanta's web site highlighting environmentally friendly business practices.  Then ask about San Francisco's Farmers Market and the ash in the California orchards.

Vera Carley, Covanta Energy
00-1-973- 882-2439


Pacific Oroville Power hits off switch

By MARY WESTON-Staff Writer

Oroville Mercury Register
Posted: 01/28/2010 8:07:28 PM Irish Winter Time

OROVILLE — The burner at Pacific Oroville Power, Inc. on South Fifth Ave. hasn't been blowing smoke for more than a week.

Exactly what is going on is unclear, except the ash disposed by the company at a Sacramento landfill and spread on local orchards apparently didn't pass tests by the California Regional Water Quality Board Central Valley Division in Sacramento.

And the plant could be the subject of an investigation by the Butte County District Attorney's Office.

Last week, plant manager Francisco Barraga said the building at 3050 S. Fifth Ave. was closed two weeks for scheduled maintenance.

When asked if the closure had anything to do with ash from the plant not passing tests by the water quality board in Sacramento, Barraga said any further questions would have to be answered by public relations representative Vera Carley at Covanta Energy's office in Fairfield, N.J.

Several calls to Carley and another public relations person weren't returned.

Tuesday, Greg Cash of California Regional Water Quality Control Board Central Valley Region in Redding said his office hadn't tested the ash yet.

The Sacramento office had tested ash dumped at the L&D Landfill Co. in Sacramento, Cash said.

Cash said the Redding office would be testing ash at the plant on Wednesday for a Butte County District Attorney investigation. District Attorney Mike Ramsey declined to comment.

Last week, the Oroville plant rented receptacles from Recology in Oroville and had been gathering up the ash in the plant yard.

Recology manager Joe Matz said they will not be taking the ash and they haven't ever taken ash from Pacific Power.

On Tuesday, Moses Detoro of L&D Landfill confirmed it had stopped taking the plant's ash because of testing by the regional water quality board.

"I was told not to take any more ash from POPI until further notice," Detoro said.

He said further information would have to come from the main office.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, neither the Sacramento water control board office, nor Jeff Mills from the landfill main office returned the Mercury-Register's phone calls requesting more information.

Wednesday at 2 p.m., people from water control board and from the plant walked out of the locked gate at the front parking lot.

One woman confirmed they were from the water control board. However, the plant manager said he didn't know when the plant would open again, and any information would have to come from the Covanta public relations office.

Covanta has owned the cogeneration plant in Oroville since 1997 and its Web site highlights environmentally friendly business practices.

The Oroville plant has burned "biofuel" for 25 years to make electricity, which is sold to PG&E.

Staff writer Mary Weston can be reached at 533-3135 or mweston@orovillemr.com.

IRELAND: Unacceptable Influence in Poolbeg Incinerator Process

An Bord Pleanála Directorate?

EPA Directorate?

ESRI Directorate?


Who appointed directorate level employees to An Bord Pleanála, EPA, ESRI, RTE and others between 1995 and 2010? 

Board of Bord Pleanála
RPS represents Dublin City Council's incinerator team and has a "former" RPS employee on the Board of Bord Pleanála.  Apparently RPS received the majority of €25 Million in 'consultancy fees' from Dublin City Council, with DCC apparently controlled by The Galway Tent.

EPA Ireland
EPA's "independent" Board contains a former industry employee (Burke of Indaver), a situation condemned by The Green Party in 2005.  An ex-EPA Director has worked to promote the Poolbeg Incinerator and the failed West Dublin Incinerator.

DUBLIN CITY Council paid almost €125,000 for a February 2010 Economic and Social Research Institute report.  This report was published in Dublin on the day of a Covanta media event in Dublin - purely a coincidence says the ESRI's report writer.

In April 2007, CBRE's Director of Research made a curious presentation to the Poolbeg Incinerator Oral Hearing, under the influence of DCC.   Was the Bord Pleanála Inspector fully informed?   Was this an early indicator for Judge McKechnie's unapproved judgement?

"Artistic images" of the incinerator are widely used by RTE.  Do these images truly and fully honestly inform?  Do they come directly from the incinerator promoters?  Has RTE fully informed the public?

Irish Times
Does the Irish Times provide robust critical insight to the talking points it receives from Dublin City Council?   Has The Irish Times declared the sums in advertising revenue which it has received from RPS and Dublin Council over the past ten years?  Has The Irish Times investigated and reported the history of Covanta's contracts and Covanta's history of fines for the management of its modern incinerators?  Has The Irish Times investigated the Poolbeg Incinerator process, a process supposedly carried out in the public interest? 

Unacceptable Influence
"Massaging of reports by Matt Twomey, which were later, in their edited versions, released publicly, is a strong indicator to me of unacceptable influence in a process supposedly carried out in the public interest."  Judge McKechnie said in his unapproved judgment.  [Sunday Business Post]

February 3, 2010

ESRI Now In Taxpayer Blackmail Game for Poolbeg Incinerator?

 Paul Gorecki, lead author of the ESRI report, warned yesterday that compensation would have to be paid if the Poolbeg project did not proceed.
 - http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0203/breaking13.htm

Build it or else?  Is ESRI now in the game with the City Manager of making financial threats to Ireland's taxpayers?   DCC's PR company seems to have launched this game of massaging public opinion by threat in January 2010.

It's reported that ESRI has been paid for the report by Dublin City Council.  This paid-for report seems to follow the line of DCC, as directed by Mr Bertie (Nation's Bankrupt-er) and Mr Biffo (NAMA Billions). 

DCC has been judged (unapproved judgement) to have "massaged" information and to have used "undue influence" in a public process concerning the Poolbeg Incinerator.   
Recently the Dublin City Council's manager has been claiming taxpayers will be hit with large charges (€300 million?) if the Poolbeg Incinerator is not built.

DCC has a secret contract with Covanta -
  • a similar contract near Orlando has cost Lake County's residents $300 million and 
  • 20 years of lawsuits, and has 
  • stopped promotion of recycling.  
  • Waste now has to be imported to keep the Orlando incinerator financially viable.  
  • Covanta has just disclosed it will import waste from across Ireland to keep Poolbeg viable, probably by ship.  Another cynically massaged fact hidden from the public process by the Archbishop Of Waste, Poolbeg Parish?

It is quite possible that the City Manager is working closely with the Environment Minister to create more shallow excuses for doing nothing.  Forty Shades of Greed.

[Because of Covanta Contract] "...we're also not promoting recycling in a big way right now."
 - Waste Boss Daryl Smith, Lake County, Florida.  Dec 2009.

February 2, 2010

Covanta Recruitment of Public Official - HowTo

2005 AD 


  • Mr. Balmer acknowledges that he has significantly participated in contractual activity with two of the three companies he would like to pursue post-County employment with: Covanta and Waste Management.
  • The Commission finds that Mr. Balmer's proposed employment with Convanta or Waste Management is not likely to create an actual conflict of interest if he does not work on any project within the State of Maryland.

The Ethics Division in Maryland's spelling is "Convanta".   Homer believes "Covanta" is the more truthful spelling.  Maryland's governor in 2010 is Governor Martin O'Malley, a fine musician(a).

In 2007, Arthur Balmer, a Scot, was Director - Business Development for the US office of Covanta.   Before that he was Montgomery County (USA)’s project manager for the Authority’s $290 million Resource Recovery Facility.

Arthur Balmer
  • 2007: Covanta Chief salesman ["Director - Business Development for the US office of Covanta"]
  • [1987-2005] : 1) project manager for the Authority’s $290 million "Resource Recovery Facility" (aka Incinerator?); 2) management of the county’s Solid Waste Disposal and Collection Fund Operating Budgets, which exceed $90 million per year

In Ireland public officials can legally jump between the incineration industry and   regulators and public waste management positions.  An example is RPS and Bord Pleanála, or EPA-Ireland and Indaver - condemned by the Green Party before they became the Forty Shades of Greed Party.

In Washington D.C. there seems to be a one year cooling off period before a public employee can work for Convanta.  However all you need is a piece of paper to get around such difficulties, correctly done of course.  

From a 2005 document from Washington D.C. the local equivalent of a Matt Twomey or a Mr Tierney or a Mr Lyons or a failed Green Party enthusiast seems to have been Arthur G. Balmer:

Arthur G. Balmer has worked for the County since June 1987, and has served as the Chief of the Solid Waste Services Division in the Department of Public Works and Transportation since October 1994.

For one year after leaving County employment, a former employee must not enter into any employment agreement with any person or business if, during the prior three years, the employee significantly participated in any procurement or other contractual activity concerning a contract with that person or business.  [Restriction NA in Green-FF Ireland?]

Arthur G. Balmer, Chief of the Solid Waste Services Division, seeks a waiver of this prohibition in order to pursue post-County employment with any of the following three major waste-to-energy companies or their subsidiaries: Covanta Holding Corporation (with 31 facilities), Waste Management, Inc. (with 17 facilities), and Veolia Environment (with 7 facilities).  [2010: Covanta owns Veolia].

Mr. Balmer reports that his oversight responsibilities have included
  • almost all of the engineering and construction companies engaged in construction and waste management in Montgomery County and nationally. 
  •  negotiating many multimillion dollar contracts  including ... most of the major private solid waste companies.

Mr. Balmer acknowledges that he has significantly participated1 in contractual activity with two of the three companies he would like to pursue post-County employment with: Covanta and Waste Management.

The Commission finds that Mr. Balmer s proposed employment with Convanta or Waste Management is not likely to create an actual conflict of interest if he does not work on any project within the State of Maryland.


(a) O'Malley's March album, "Galway Races" is a galloping, electrified folk song about Ireland's largest annual horse-racing festival. O'Malley was mayor of Baltimore, 1999-2007, the period covered by HBO's The Wire.   

View HBO's The Wire for a fictional view of ethics and political standards in nearby Baltimore, Maryland.  View HBO's The Soprano's for a fictional view on the waste management industry as practiced in New Jersey.  Visit nearby Washington DC to see 100,000 lawyers lobbying the US Government with money to influence laws and budgets.  Visit Brussels to see the German Chemicals industry working to fix air quality standards across Europe.

February 1, 2010

Johnny-Cash Gormleys Forty Shades of Greed.

Why does Ireland have Forty Shades of Greed? 


Greed is good.  Greed is green.
  When we think of Ireland, we think of the Green Galway Races, the green cute wee hoor, the green party crony, the financial regulator of the green, the "Wearing of the Greed" and the 37 other almost proverbial shades of greed. But just why do we talk about "Forty Shades of Greed"? 
Some Shades of The Greed Party:
  • Poolbeg Incinerator & Broken Green Party Promises
  • Rossport Five & Broken Green Party Promises
  • Tara & Broken Green Party Promises
  • Energy Regulation  & Broken Green Party Promises
  • The Irish Green Party
  • Teeching Jobs for Failed Green Councillors
Johnny Cash
It is the fault of one man - none other than Johnny-Cash Gormley. The "Man in Green" was so taken in by de Environment that he went green and penned a whole party in celebration of The Green. Cashing-In fooled the electorate he was genuinely in love with green Ireland at the time (2007 election).
Johnny Cashing-In Gormley is now responsible for creating the idea of Ireland being "forty shades of greed". This was stolen from Ireland's seminal rock group "Boomtown Rats", with singer Bob Geldof also mentioning "the purple and the pinstripe" in the "Banana Republic".   Today light-touch green bishops are adopting ideas from light-touch purple bishops.  Failed greens are given jobs in other parishes, teaching.  Or regulating the electricity.
January 31, 2010

Liam Fay: Cronyism shows the Greens are red in tooth and claw

Failure is not an option for the Greens. This is one of Eamon Ryan’s pet maxims and he means precisely what he says. Blithely ignoring the broken branches and torn foliage strewn all over his party’s policy platform, following a succession of humiliating climbdowns, the energy and communications minister evidently believes the Greens should stay in government come what may. After all, patronage is a luxury that can only be indulged by those in power.

Like John Gormley, his fellow Green at the cabinet trough, Ryan seems shameless in his determination to find cushy state numbers for as many as possible of the failed politicians that make up what’s left of the party. Individually and collectively, failure is not an option for the Greens.

Take Vincent P Martin, the Green barrister who lost his seat on Monaghan county council last year. Gormley recently appointed Martin to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), which adjudicates in disputes between landlords and tenants. PRTB members receive an average of €25,000 a year in fees and expenses, whereas councillors receive a maximum of €11,000.

Gormley also graced the tenancies board with Gene Feighery, another Green stalwart who’s been rebuffed at the polls. Feighery was co-opted onto Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown council in 2007 but was then unable to win a seat.

Then there’s Niall O Brolchain, elevated to the Seanad after voters ejected him from Galway city council. Green bosses hatched a deal with their Fianna Fail confederates whereby O Brolchain was the only government nominee for a vacancy on the agriculture panel, guaranteeing his ticket to Leinster House.
Poll-wise, the Greens are in freefall but the leadership is pulling every string it can to ensure each remaining party loyalist lands on his/her feet. The jammiest of all must be Elizabeth Davidson, a flop in the Dublin South by-election. Thanks to Ryan, Davidson is paid €40,000 per year to watch movies in her capacity as a classifier with the film classification office. For most politicians cronyism is the aim of the game. But the Greens used to claim they were different and defined themselves in brightly coloured opposition to the nepotism practised with such ruthless efficiency by Fianna Fail.

Only last year, during the shape-throwing that preceded re-negotiation of the Programme for Government, the Greens publicly demanded reform of state-board appointment procedures, calling for what Senator Dan Boyle described as a shift in emphasis away “from party affiliation to qualifications, ability and relevant experience”. Today, however, they sing a different tune.
Gormley and Ryan obviously realise the party faces annihilation at the next election. In government, the Greens have repeatedly betrayed their own principles — on the M3, special-needs education, hospital co-location, corporate donations, Bertie Ahern, the banking inquiry, blasphemy legislation . . .

Having sold out their beliefs, abandoning their distaste for cronyism has become second nature. Even when they aren’t constructing golden parachutes for defenestrated Green party members, both ministers now dispense largesse as though they were feudal monarchs rather than democratically accountable public representatives.

Last week, Ryan appointed a new Commissioner for Energy Regulation (salary: €165,000) without holding an open application process.

Garrett Blaney, an electrical engineer with a background in eco-friendly power generation, got the job after a telephone conversation with the minister. Blaney may be qualified for the position, but the manner of his appointment smacks of the sharp practice that, in opposition, Ryan railed against.
Make no mistake: the Greens do not offer a kinder, gentler version of political chicanery: soya cronyism, perhaps, or tofu stroke-pulling. This is the full-blooded traditional variety, red in tooth and claw. Failure is not an option for the Greens because they’ve become more Fianna Fail than Fianna Failers themselves.