Thursday, March 09, 2006

The week ahead: STATES UNDER SIEGE, mercury scandal, and more

Dear friends,

Next week will include some very interesting developments, especially for those who follow the critical activities of state and local clean air officials.

I hope you find this update useful.

States Under Siege, Part One: State and local air pollution officials play a vital role in the battle against pollution. These folks are on the front line in trying to protect people’s health. And as those of you outside DC know, they often face heavy pressure from well-connected local industries, paid-off governors and assorted other local political yahoos. And now they face a new threat – this time from the federal government.

As you may know, these agencies receive some of their money from the federal government (the reason being they are, in theory, partners with the federal government and tasked with carrying out many federal directives).

But in his recent budget request to Congress, President Bush proposed slashing their funding by $35 million – a whopping 16 percent. If Congress went along with this penny-wise, pound-foolish idea, it would have damaging real-world impacts: people fired, companies not inspected, air pollution monitors – and maybe even entire agencies -- shut down.

You don’t have to be cynical to believe that a lot of polluters are quietly cheering on the sidelines.

Next week, state and local clean air officers in Washington plan to release a report documenting the specific impacts of these proposed budget cuts. As I understand it, this will be a very detailed report and will permit the opportunity to localize this story in every state. I believe the report will be released officially on Tuesday, March 14. You could check with Bill Becker (202-624-7864 ) for details on the report’s release.


States Under Siege, Part Two: Also next week, a curtain will be lifted. And we’ll find out if automobile and diesel engine companies have been successful in one aspect of their lobbying campaign to further restrict the rights of states to protect people from dirty air. This involves a National Research Council report due to be released the morning of March 16.

Here’s the quick background: several years ago, Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) was persuaded by a special- interest polluter (the lawnmower company Briggs & Stratton) to demand in a spending bill that the Council conduct a study of state practices in regulating moving sources of pollution (ie, cars, trucks, etc.) Right now, the law says California can adopt standards for most moving sources that are better than the applicable federal standards. And states are free to adopt most California standards. This system has brought great clean-air progress and has benefited breathers from coast to coast.

Car companies and diesel engine companies have used this study as an opportunity to try to clip the wings of states. They have testified at NRC hearings against the current system. The stakes in this battle have risen in recent months as a number of states have adopted controversial California standards for global warming emissions from motor vehicles.

So next week is judgment day. Will the NRC recommend that Congress take away the rights of states? Will Kit Bond pull out his special-interest pen once again?

Stay tuned. I am sure that state agencies and some of their Representatives such as Bill Becker and the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) will want to comment on the NRC recommendations.


Mercury Madness: Next week (March 15) marks the one-year anniversary of EPA’s industry-friendly decision to permit coal-burning electric power companies to continue emitting high levels of toxic mercury well into the future.

In adopting the industry plan, EPA Administrator “Slippery” Steve Johnson argued that most of the mercury polluting our lakes and streams was coming from oversees, and that there was no “commercially available” technology available to deal with this poison. EPA also argued that it was harder to clean up low-sulfur western coal than eastern coal.

Well, let’s fast forward a bit. In the past year, we have seen numerous announcements of sales of commercially available mercury cleanup products. (See sample at bottom of this message.). To keep up our state theme, please note that these contracts have come about because of state activities.

It turns out that it may actually be easier to purge the mercury from low-sulfur coal.

On top of that, despite Slippery Steve’s apparent efforts to suppress this information (see excellent March 3 piece in Greenwire), EPA has now found out that 70% of the mercury in scenic Steubenville, Ohio, comes from local coal burning. Noted Greenwire: “The 70 percent deposition level runs counter to one of the administration's widely trumpeted modeling results showing that only 8 percent of the wet mercury deposition nationwide comes from U.S. power plants. EPA has cited the 8 percent figure as one reason it could issue a market-based, cap-and-trade program to facilitate domestic mercury reductions.”

So the past year has demonstrated that all off EPA’s stated reasons for caving into industry are bogus.

Interestingly enough, EPA agreed officially to reconsider its bad decision in response to a petition. But will the agency actually change its decision despite the overwhelming evidence that 1) coal burning power plants poison local lakes and streams; and 2) there are now commercially available mercury cleanup devices; and 3) the only common-sense approach is to require that all coal-burning power plants reduce their mercury emissions, rather than letting many buy or sell the right to continue pumping out this poison?

Someone could do a dynamite job with this story.



Littleton, CO – March 1, 2006 - ADA-ES, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADES) today announced that it has been awarded new contracts to supply commercial mercury control systems for two existing coal-fired power plants and one new power plant in the Western U.S. The total value of contracts for the activated carbon injection equipment is in excess of $2 million. The equipment will be designed, fabricated, and delivered in several phases during 2006 and 2007.

ADA-ES has demonstrated activated carbon-based mercury control technology at over 20 power plants across the country and this technology has become the leading option for control of mercury emissions.

Mike Durham, President of ADA-ES, stated, “These contracts reinforce the important role that carbon injection technology is playing in the control of mercury from coal-fired power plants. Combined with the three contracts we announced in 2005, we now have contracts that will result in six commercial mercury control systems. We continue to provide quotes to a number of power plants and expect more contracts to be awarded for this key technology this year. These contracts also show that state consent decrees will be a significant driver for the mercury control business in addition to new state and pending federal mercury control laws.”

About ADA-ES
Headquartered in Littleton, Colorado, ADA-ES, Inc. develops and implements proprietary environmental technology and specialty chemicals that mitigate the environmental impact from electric power and industrial companies while reducing operating costs.

This press release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a "safe harbor" for such forward-looking statements in this document that are based on information the Company believes reasonable, but such projections and statements involve significant uncertainties. Actual events or results – including award of additional commercial contracts – could differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors including but not limited to changing market demand for ADA-ES chemicals and systems and changes in technology, federal funding, laws or regulations, availability of skilled personnel, and other factors discussed in the company's filings with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission.
ADA-ES, Inc. -or- Investor Relations Counsel
Michael D. Durham, Ph.D., MBA, President The Equity Group Inc.
Mark H. McKinnies, Senior VP & CFO
(303) 734-1727 Lauren Till, (212) 836-9610


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