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EBI News for December 2, 2020- Environmental Regulations Change to Protect Our Future

EBI News for December 2, 2020- The following section highlights the latest news in the environmental industry. Including changes in environmental regulations, acquisitions, and renewables becoming cheaper than coal.


Jacobs to buy majority stake in PA Consulting

Jacobs (Dallas) is acquiring a 65% stake in PA Consulting (London, UK) from The Carlyle Group and forming a strategic partnership to capture the next wave of digital revolution; PA employees will hold the remaining 35%. The transaction values PA at $2.4 billion. Jacobs will also provide PA with debt financing in the form of an $845 million term loan and a revolving credit facility of up to $130 million to fund future growth. Founded in 1943, PA has offices in the UK, Europe and the United States, and more than 3,200 specialists in defense and security, consumer and manufacturing, government, health and life sciences, transport, energy and utilities, and financial services. PA has delivered compound annual revenue growth of 12% since 2016 and announced record fee income of £500 million for 2019. “We are on the cusp of the next digital revolution as advances across 5G-driven compute power, robotics, autonomous technology, machine learning automation and geospatial technology converge to provide solutions to many of the world’s most complex challenges,” said Jacobs Chair and CEO Steve Demetriou. “Our partnership with PA… combines strategic front-end consulting and deep domain knowledge across key sectors with next generation science and technology expertise.”

China to ban all imports of solid waste from 2021

China will ban all imports of solid waste from January 1, 2021, Xinhua state press agency reported. Dumping, stacking and disposal of waste products from overseas will also be banned. The total ban is the culmination of policies introduced since 2017 to phase out waste imports. China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and for years has been the world’s largest importer. In late 2017 China banned the import of 24 types of solid waste, including unsorted paper, textiles and vanadium slag. Since then solid waste imports have decreased significantly. Last year’s imports stood at 13.5 million tonnes, down from 22.6 million tonnes in 2018. In the first 10 months of 2020, imports plunged 43% year on year.

Michael Baker and Tetra Tech selected for FEMA contract

Michael Baker International (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and joint venture partner Tetra Tech (Pasadena, Calif.) have been awarded a single-source, five-year IDIQ contract up to $50 million by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support the Hazard Mitigation Technical Assistance Program. Responsibilities will include engineering and non-architecture projects specifically to help meet disaster mitigation and environmental responsibilities. Program areas include grant application support, including benefit-cost analysis, environmental and historic preservation support, post-event assessments, policy and regulatory analysis, publications, national floodplain insurance program support, and community outreach.

Verdantix smart building survey reveals priorities in 2021

Verdantix (London, UK) has released its annual global survey of 250 real estate occupiers across 13 geographies and 18 industries on their firms’ real estate strategies in relation to technology decisions. The survey revealed that attracting and retaining talent was the top priority for 37% of respondents, followed by building resiliency (23%), cost reduction (22%), and building occupant health and wellbeing (18%). Key findings included: Enabling a remote workforce is the most significant factor shaping real estate strategies (96%), closely followed by social distancing and infection control (90%) and energy cost-cutting (50%). “In the near term, we find that firms are planning targeted new investments in remote collaboration, employee and environment health monitoring technology, and IoT-enabled space monitoring,” said Verdantix Industry Analyst Dayann Charles Jeyamohan.

PFAS legislation to be reintroduced in New Year

Legislation requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate PFAS will be reintroduced in January, soon after the new Congress begins its first session, Reuters reported. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who sponsored the PFAS Action Act (H.R. 535) passed in the House last January, said reintroducing the bill would signal to the incoming Biden administration that controlling PFAS is “a top priority in the new Congress.” The bill would require EPA to set cleanup standards and enforceable drinking water limits for at least some PFAS and ban the chemicals from items such as cookware. 

Renewables in Asia Pacific cheaper than coal power by 2030 

Most markets in Asia Pacific can expect to see cheaper levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for renewables compared to coal by 2030, according to Wood Mackenzie. Currently, renewables power costs about 16% more on average compared to coal power but has been at a discount to gas-fired power since 2019. Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Rishab Shrestha said: “Today, India and Australia are the only markets in Asia Pacific with LCOE for renewables cheaper than new-build coal. However, by the end of the decade, we can expect almost all markets in the region to have renewable power at a discount compared to the lowest cost fossil fuel.” 

Environmental design consultancy Atelier Ten joins Surbana Jurong

Surbana Jurong Group (Singapore), a global consultancy in urban and infrastructure development, is adding Atelier Ten (London, UK), an environmental design consultancy, to its family of firms as the Group increases its focus on sustainability. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Atelier Ten is a global company with 300 employees in 11 offices worldwide including the United States, UK, Australia and Singapore. Founded five years ago, Surbana Jurong Group has grown its expertise in architecture, design, engineering, facilities-management and security services by investing in companies with deep expertise and reach in new markets. 

Eversheds Sutherland and KPMG survey executives on climate change risk

KPMG and Eversheds Sutherland have surveyed business leaders from more than 500 global companies about the risks and opportunities climate change poses to their organizations. They found corporate leaders are well aware of the risks, and that climate risks equate to financial risks. At the same time, most leaders felt they weren’t equipped to deal with the challenges of creating a net zero-carbon business. There is also growing recognition that climate change might very likely result in substantial transformation of their business. A majority indicated that they would need to take more aggressive steps toward de-carbonization in the future but perceived the costs to be high and that a substantial knowledge gap exists about what is required.

KB Environmental Sciences Joins CMT

Civil engineering firm Crawford, Murphy & Tilly (CMT, Springfield, Ill.) has added KB Environmental Sciences (KBE, St. Petersburg, Fla.) to its team. The acquisition complements CMT’s growing practices in aviation and environmental services. Since 2004, KBE has been providing environmental services for infrastructure projects. The firm is also recognized nationally for air quality, and noise analysis and assessment for airports. The St. Petersburg office is CMT’s third location in Florida. Ten former KBE employees will be joining CMT.  The two firms first started working together on the Chicago O’Hare Modernization Program Environmental Impact (EIS) project in 2005.

Braun Intertec acquires AKG

Braun Intertec (Minneapolis, Minn.), an engineering, consulting, and testing firm with more than 35 offices in seven states, has acquired environmental consulting firm Anderson Kelsey Group (AKG, Minn.). “I am pleased to have the talented team from AKG join our employee-owners,” said Jon Carlson, CEO of Braun Intertec. “The addition of AKG expands our permitting and compliance practice and enhances our ability to provide these services to clients nationwide.” The AKG team has experience working with clients including industrial, healthcare facilities, and national retailers.

Atmosclear Investments buys ReneSola portfolio

ReneSola Ltd. (Stamford, Conn.), a fully integrated solar project developer, has sold a portfolio of operating projects in the United Kingdom to Atmosclear Investments Ltd., a European renewable energy and cleantech private equity group. The portfolio comprises 1,509 residential rooftop projects in Scotland with a combined capacity of 4.3 MW.  These projects are qualified under the feed-in tariff scheme and have been operating since 2015.

IEA holds talks with China on roadmap to 2060 carbon-neutrality

International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol met with China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment in November to discuss how IEA can support China’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality before 2060. The IEA’s input is expected to draw on policy expertise in emissions trading systems, renewable energy technology, and carbon-capture, utilization and storage. The Chinese government is developing its 14th Five Year Plan, which is expected to strengthen policies to reduce CO2 emissions in line with China’s aim of reaching peak emissions before 2030. 

EPA challenges Americans to increase national recycling rate to 50 percent

U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler convened the agency’s third annual America Recycles Summit in November to discuss the draft National Recycling Strategy and unveil a National Recycling Goal to increase the national recycling rate to 50% by 2030 from a low 30% today. Wheeler invited the public to comment on how EPA can measure progress and achieve three key objectives: reduce contamination in recycling; make the recycling processing system more efficient; and strengthen the economic markets for recycled materials.

EPA awards $4.8 million to improve water quality in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $4.8 million grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to improve water quality in rivers and streams. Funding will help Pennsylvania focus on priority watersheds with water quality impairments. Major sources of nonpoint source pollution in the state include abandoned mine drainage, agriculture, and urban stormwater runoff, which will be addressed through structural and non-structural best management practices, as well as through watershed planning, monitoring, and education and outreach programs.


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