May 4, 2021
From the moment that Coastal suspended operations at its Hampden facility in May 2020, the MRC Board of Directors has had one goal: to reopen the plant safely and resume processing of our members’ MSW with maximum diversion. This goal is consistent with MRC’s and our Members’ mission to better ensure the continuing availability of long-term, reliable, safe, and environmentally sound methods of solid waste disposal. To do that, the plant must be sold.
The MRC owns neither the plant nor the technology used to process waste; therefore, its role is not as a seller of the Coastal facility. Rather, the MRC is party to site lease and master waste supply agreements as well as a co-permittee on various State and local licenses required to operate the plant. The seller of the Coastal facility is the bondholders, with DTE as their selected buyer.
While the MRC does not hold an ownership interest in the facility, it has leveraged its consent of assigning these agreements and permits to secure the requirement that MRC approve the operating plan and has a formal seat at monthly oversight meetings. Along with these additional rights, agreements associated with the consent to assign contracts, DTE-HM will be required to:
Have an experienced, qualified plant manager on site;
- Provide a performance bond to ensure adequate funding for operations;
- Comply with all existing permits;
- Follow a milestone plan to startup and then ramp-up to full operations; and
- Complete nine months of stable operation of the Facility, which must include the peak months of July and August, with minimal downtime before MRC will consider the option of selling the land.
The MRC Board is not oblivious to the media reports regarding the potential buyer. Early on in this process, in an effort to ensure that DTE was reasonably in the position to purchase and operate the plant, the MRC conducted its due diligence contacting municipal officials and regulators in New Jersey and Pennsylvania regarding DTE’s operations, vetting the prior experience and speaking directly to DTE personnel named to lead management and operations of the Hampden plant, and met onsite with key management personnel to discuss plans to reopen the facility.
The MRC Board has a legal responsibility to its members to protect their interest in this project. As we are all well aware, there are no guarantees and no perfect option; however, the Board has used all of the tools at its disposal to give the plant the best chance to reopen, make the organization financially whole, and provide better controls to mitigate future risk.
MRC Members will be shortly receiving a notice from MRC providing more details on the transaction and the Fundamental Matters discussed at the last MRC Board meeting on April 28, 2021.
We appreciate the opportunity to provide Members with an update. If you have any questions, please contact Michael Carroll at 207-664-1700.