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GA Technologies Sells Its Hazardous Waste Business

January 14, 1987|GREG JOHNSON | Times Staff Writer

LA JOLLA — GA Technologies has sold its experimental and controversial hazardous-waste incinerator business to New York-based Ogden Corp., company officials said Tuesday.

GA Technology's hazardous waste incineration business is a "logical extension to the waste business that we've been in for a number of years," Ogden President Donald A. Krenz said.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Ogden, which reported $21.1 million in net income and $1 billion in revenue in 1985, operates several municipal waste-burning plants and non-waste related businesses.

According to the terms of the deal, which was concluded Dec. 12, Ogden took ownership of GA Technology's proprietary circulating bed combustion technology, a prototype plant and laboratory equipment at GA Technology's campus-like setting in La Jolla.

Ogden also has leased test facilities from GA Technologies, and 20 GA Technologies employees who have been working on the incineration technology are now employed by Ogden Corp.

"The only thing that has changed is the ownership structure," according to Brian Baxter, a former GA executive who now serves as executive vice president of Ogden Environmental Services, the subsidiary created to house the new business. "To a person, the staff is identical and all of the physical assets are the same."

Attacked by Critics

During recent months, GA Technologies' applications for environmental permits have been attacked by a group of skeptics and critics.

In September, La Jollans Inc., a community planning group, asked that the City of San Diego halt the planned burning of hazardous wastes until GA Technology prepares an environmental impact statement.

"We're zoned appropriately and we expect to receive all the permits we need," Baxter said.

Ogden is "in the closing phase of the (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) permit process and we're well into the California permitting process," Baxter said. GA Technologies had requested a "research, development and demonstration" permit from state and federal regulators.

If the permits are granted, Ogden would be able to incinerate a limited amount of hazardous materials during a three-to-five-year period. Baxter was unable to predict when the needed permits would be received.

"We're not asking (neighbors) to take involuntary risks," Baxter said. "We've had some emotional appeals from people who just don't want it (in La Jolla) . . . but we argue that this is exactly the place to do it, because we've got the competent people and the appropriate regulatory oversight."

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday is scheduled to review a recently passed emergency ordinance that gives the city veto power over experimental hazardous-waste treatment or disposal plants. The city ordinance was passed in October after citizen and environmental groups lodged protests against GA Technology's permit requests.

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