A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 October 1992


“District Attorney Edwin Miller violated the civil rights of Waste Management Inc. when he falsely linked the waste hauler to organized crime, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday [10-13-92] in U.S. District Court. Miller’s March report [see Waste Not 203] to the county Board of Supervisors strongly advised the board against doing business with Waste Management, saying the company was involved in organized crime, antitrust activity and illegal hazardous-waste dumping. Illinois-based Waste Management -the nation’s largest trash-hauling company- is attempting to build a landfill on property it controls in Gregory Canyon, along the San Luis Rey River near Pala. The lawsuit states that publication of the report, specifically a chapter titled ‘Organized Crime Connections,’ impaired the company’s ability to do business in San Diego and that Miller failed to conduct a fair and impartial review of the company’s activities with respect to organized crime. The suit claims that Waste Management’s right to due process was violated because Miller did not provide company officials a hearing to defend against the allegations...‘We have found the report to be a very damaging document,’ said Harold Gershowitz, the company’s senior vice president. ‘It has been reproduced and shipped to every place we do business’...Waste Management’s top attorney, J. Steven Bergerson, said documents in the company’s possession, which could have refuted the charges, were not requested...Waste Management Inc. hired the prestigious Los Angeles law firm O’Melveny & Meyers...Bergerson said the company...wants the parts of the report concerning organized-crime connections to be declared invalid and unconstitutional. It also asks that Miller stop circulating the report and retrieve as many copies of it as possible and destroy them...[San Diego] county supervisors asked Miller to investigate Waste Management almost two years ago to address allegations that the company was involved in price fixing and other antitrust activity and illegal dumping of hazardous waste. Since then, the board has adopted a policy recommending against private landfill operators in favor of public ownership of all county landfills.” The North County Blade-Citizen, San Diego County, CA, 10-14-92.

Note from Waste Not:

It is uncommon for a public official to take on WMI to protect the public interest and
we need to encourage it whenever we can. We ask our readers to write to Edwin Miller
and thank him for the courage he has shown. His address:
Edwin Miller, San Diego County District Attorney, PO Box X101, San Diego, CA 92112

According to the District Attorney’s report on WMI: “The definition of ‘organized crime’ is generally assumed to be merely another term for the Mafia, or traditional organized crime families. However, now the term ‘organized crime’ may be applied to many criminal enterprises with divergent interests. Any enterprise which is organized to circumvent the law for profit may properly be described as ‘organized crime.’” Miller’s report, known as The San Diego Report, was updated in July to include the Sheriff’s Department of Ventura County, CA, report on WMI which describes the history of actions against WMI which resulted in fines and penalties amounting to over $52 million. (The latest fine against WMI, not included in this report, is a June 1992 $3 million fine by the State of Illinois against WMI’s subsidiary Chemical Waste Management for falsifying its inventory records, violating its inventory limit, and for the mismanagment of its Chicago hazardous waste incinerator which resulted in an explosion in 1991 -see Waste Not 203.) According to WMI’s lawsuit, because of the report’s history of WMI’s links to organized crime, WMI has been “condemned with a badge of infamy, has been officially condemned to an odious status and has been subjected to a deprivation of [its] good name, honor and reputation by being branded as companies having organized crime connections...’” Los Angeles Times, 10-14-92.


“Responding to the concerns of environmentalists and some local residents, Baltimore’s city council has approved a five-year moratorium on new waste-to-energy plants. The ban, expected to be signed into law by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke [he signed it], would kill or at least delay two proposals to build new incineration capacity. Earlier this year, American Ref-Fuel Co., Houston, proposed buying a 1950s era, 330,000 ton-per-year incinerator from locally based Pulaski Co. and replacing it with a new waste-to-energy plant capable of burning 450,000 tpy of garbage. In addition, Wheelabrator Environmental Services, a unit of Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., Hampton, N.H., proposed a 50% expansion of its existing 800,000-tpy Refuse Energy Systems Co. plant near Interstate 95. Power from each of the proposed projects would be sold to Baltimore Gas & Electric, the local utility. The proposals prompted environmentalists and local residents led by the Baltimore Recycling Coalition to push the ban, with arguments that the new capacity isn’t needed and that the city should close or clean up the Pulaski incinerator. According to city estimates, the old plant needs more than $50 million in new pollution controls to meet current air-quality standards. Richard Oliver, vice president for project development at American Ref-Fuel, says the ban is misguided because it will prevent the city from meeting its trash-disposal needs and from pursuing the ‘best alternative.’ Schmoke had opposed an earlier version of the moratorium bill, but favors the new one because of a kick-out clause that invalidates the ban if the city experiences a trash emergency and needs new incineration capacity.” Engineering News Record, July 13, 1992, page 22. For more information contact Beth Passavant of the Baltimore Recycling Coalition at 410-327-8637.

THE NETHERLANDS: Dutch environmental groups stop a proposed $700 million BABCOCK ANLAGEN municipal solid waste incinerator. Dutch environmental organizations are calling for the eventual close down of all existing municipal and hazardous waste incinerators in Holland. “A project to build a large waste incineration facility was cancelled June 24 [1992] by the general board of a regional Cooperative Body for Waste Disposal in Zuid-Holland West [known as SAVA and made up of 35 municipalities, with the largest being The Hague, Leiden and Zoetermeer], the most densely populated province of the Netherlands. The construction of an integrated waste processing facility with a capacity of 600,000 metric tons was cancelled because the quantity of waste available to the facility by 1998, when it was to become operative, was expected to be significantly less than the facility would be capable of handling....Growing public resistance to waste incinerators, along with the increased availability of alternatives for disposing of waste, had made the project less attractive...SAVA has spent more than 120 million guilders (US$69 million) on the project. In 1991, SAVA’s board entered into a contract with a consortium, headed by the German company Babcock Anlagen in Krefeld, to build the incinerator. The cost of the facility was estimated at 1.2 billion guilders ($700 million)...Conditions included a compensation payment to the consortium of 17 million guilders [nearly US$10 million]...The site projected for the incineration facility was the Prins Clausplein, near the The Hague, in Leidschendam municipality...At the end of last year, [the national Commission for the Handling of Waste] decided that incineration should no longer be the only way to meet the need for treatment of increasing quantities of waste...If the quantities of waste to be processed in the future are uncertain, disposal at landfills, not incineration, should be the way of dealing with a surplus, the commission said...the council of The Haque decided June 29 that The Haque’s own municipal waste incinerator must close down by January 1, 1994, because the council no longer will accept such a plant in the local area...John Koorevaar, secretary of a national environmental group opposing incineration of waste, told BNA July 4 that his organization fights against the building of incinerators in the Netherlands. The organization consists of 12 pressure groups, each contesting a proposed facility in its local area. Koorevaar’s group, the Foundation Stop Wast Incinerator Ypenburg (situated in Leidschendam)...The goals of the group, supported by Dutch environmental organizations, entail: * No expansion of existing incineration capacity, and the eventual close-down of all existing facilities for the incineration of waste, including municipal, industrial, and chemical wastes... International Environment Reporter, 7-15-92, pages 465-466.

The BECHTEL CORPORATION. Waste Not has 11 copies of Friends in High Places. The Bechtel Story: The most secret corporation and how it engineered the world, by Laton McCartney, published in 1988 by Simon & Schuster. This 273-page hard-cover book normally sells for $19.95. It is available from Waste Not for $4, which includes book-rate postage. Bechtel has been involved with the following municipal solid waste incinerators:

Bechtel’s Involvement Location of Incinerator Tons per Day Status

Co-Builder with WMI Tampa, Florida 1,000 tpd mass-burn On line: Sept. 1985

Builder/Operator SEMASS, Rochester, Mass. 1,800 tpd RDF On line: Oct. 1988

Co-Vendor/Designer/Builder No. Palm Beach County, Florida 2,000 tpd RDF On line: Nov. 1989

Designer/Builder Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1,600 tpd RDF On-line: 1977-1982.

Project “mothballed.”

Builder Chester, Pennsylvania 2,250 tpd RDF Proposed: permit denied Dec.’91

Designer/Builder Robbins, Illinois 1,200 tpd RDF Proposed.

Builder Salisbury, Massachusetts 1,800 tpd Proposed.

WASTE NOT # 211. A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Students & Seniors $35; Individual $40; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian $US45; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.