Archive for the ‘Covanta Violations Lawsuits Fines Threats’ category

Covanta Huge Increase in "Lobbying"

March 31, 2010
Big Increase in Covanta Money for “Lobbyists”.
Covanta has greatly increased its reported  lobbying budget with USA lawyers.  Dublin’s incinerator promoters have used a lawyer with apparent US interests – including running a fundraiser in Dublin for the US presidential elections. Covanta’s purchases of influence in Brussels, London and Dublin is not reported. 
Lobbying Expenses Reported by Subsidiary Covanta Energy Corp
Firms Hired, Reported Contract Expenses (included in Total Reported by Filer)
Dickstein, Shapiro et al:   $440,000
F/S Capitol Consulting: $160,000
King & Spalding: $360,000
Kinghorn, Hilbert & Assoc: $150,000
NOTE: All lobbying expenditures on this page come from the US Senate Office of Public Records. Data for the most recent year was downloaded on February 01, 2010.
Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics.
All information concerning lobbying expenditures in Ireland are the private property of the galway tent cartel.

Fresh Water Habitat Destruction for DCC-Covanta Incinerator

March 17, 2010
Did DDDA authorise the destruction of the largest fresh water resource for wildlife in south Dublin Bay, an area of special protection (SPA & SAC)?  DDDA previously authorised the HQ for Anglo Irish Bank and did so illegally (‘ultra vires’).  Is DDDA again acting ‘illegally’?
Did Dublin City Council authorise this habitat destruction?  If so is DCC acting illegally.  In December 2009 Judge McKechnie adjudicated DCC to have massaged facts and to have used undue influence in a process supposed to be in the public interest.
  • Where was the planning approval?  Bord Pleanála did not approve this destruction.
  • Where is the Environmental Impact Statement?
  • Where is the EPA approval?
  • Is Mr Gormley again looking for excuses?
The land is owned by a state company, Dublin Port Company.  Bertie freely acknowledges he appointed his buddies to run Dublin Port Company.  Does Dublin Port Company have permission from any authorised body to destroy habitat in a SPA?







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

February 17, 2010
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 [].  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.”

Covanta Imports Will Increase Bin Charges

February 16, 2010
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.
Another Revolving Door 
Even More Doors at EPA-Ireland
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.

Another Covanta Contract Dispute, New York State.

February 14, 2010
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.

Poolbeg Incinerator Run by New Jersey’s Culture?

July 26, 2009

Is Covanta influenced by New Jersey’s Culture? Will the proposed Poolbeg Incinerator be run using New Jersey’s best?

The arrests come in a state that is no stranger to political corruption. The former mayors of Newark, Paterson and Camden, to name but a few, have or are serving time in prison. Wayne Bryant, a former state senator, is due to be sentenced for fraud and bribery on Friday. Until recently, “double-dipping”, holding two elected positions, was the norm.

  • Handing out public-sector contracts to political donors, “pay to play”, is common practice.
  • Cronyism is practically accepted.
  • Mob ties are not unusual [blog-edit: especially in waste management and construction].

– The Economist, Jul 24th 2009, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY

New Jersey is not Sweden. Covanta is HQ’ed in New Jersey. Which quite possibly has no influence whatsoever on the corporate culture, apart from sharp suits and haircuts. Covanta is not a gonzo outfit. As far as is known Covanta is a mighty fine corporate citizen. Except perhaps for Dioxins violations reported for all of its New Jersey waste incinerators and about 6,000 violations at Ogden and conflicts with employees and other legal concerns in Florida and a recent ‘bankruptcy’ issue and the odd explosion forcing people to run indoors.

Like Wall Street bankers also based in New Jersey, Covanta’s CEO Tony Orlando is heavily bonus driven with recent official compensation of about $3 million.

US websites list the legal political donations made by Covanta staff to local politicians. In 2008 the Irish lawyer for the Poobeg Incinerator Promoters, ‘Willem Schipkijk’, had a legal fundraiser in his Dalkey house for at least one American Presidential candidate (Obama) in Dublin. Curious?

DCC’s choice of operator for the proposed Poolbeg Incinerator is a Covanta entity legalised in the secret banking haven of Luxembourg. Curious?

In Ireland of course the secret contract DCC made with Covanta was not influenced by any form of “pay to play” nor cronyism nor the total dismissal of scientific facts and the public’s interest in favour of secret political diktats. The secret contract may involve a “put or pay” contract which will burden the bankrupted taxpayers who are not killed prematurely by incinerator nanoparticles (PM0.1).

Bertie ‘Won It On De Horses’ Ahern can confirm this, even if it’s actually true. So will the public servants now retiring on the world’s highest pensions. These are honest men.


Poolbeg Incinerator "Rogue Employer"

July 24, 2009

The USA’s National Labor Relations Board this week issued a comprehensive complaint charging Covanta Energy Corp. and all of its U.S. subsidiaries with violating federal labor law.

AFL-CIO Local 369 President Gary Sullivan:

The board’s action confirms our first-hand experience that Covanta is a rogue employer with no respect for the rights of its employees.

Dublin City Council has a secret deal with Covanta to run the proposed Poolbeg Waste-to-Toxins incinerator. Possibly to dodge US courts the deal is with an offshore Covanta outfit – a special purpose entity firewalled in secretive Luxembourg (guess why).

The USA’s National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations Act, the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector.