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Pennsylvania Attorney General Joins in Settlement

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- USA Waste Services Inc. will be allowed to acquire United Waste Systems Inc. as long as the companies sell off a Pittsburgh landfill company and meet other conditions to eliminate antitrust concerns, under a joint settlement filed today by the Department of Justice and the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office. USA Waste and United Waste are two of the largest waste hauling and disposal companies in North America.

The Department's Antitrust Division said that if USA Waste's acquisition of United Waste had gone forward as originally proposed, it would have eliminated the vigorous competition that had existed between the two companies resulting in higher prices for municipal solid waste disposal and hauling services in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

"Without this settlement, businesses and residents in Allegheny County would have paid higher prices for waste hauling and disposal," said Joel I. Klein, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Antitrust Division.

The joint antitrust suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, said that without the settlement, the acquisition would have substantially lessened competition by giving USA Waste control over about 60 percent of the disposal services offered to haulers of municipal solid waste generated in Allegheny County, with nearly twice the market share of the next largest firm in the area.

At the same time, a proposed settlement was filed that, if approved by the court, would settle the suit. The proposed settlement will maintain competition by requiring the divestiture of a Pittsburgh-area landfill owned by Kelly Run Sanitation Inc., a subsidiary of United Waste.

Under the restructured deal, residents of Allegheny County will continue to enjoy the benefits of competition for municipal solid waste disposal and hauling services, the Department said.

Klein said that the joint settlement is one of a recent series of settlements in the waste industry which preserves competition and protects consumers from increased prices.

Municipal solid waste includes residential and commercial trash and garbage. Municipal solid waste generated in Allegheny County is collected by haulers that transport the waste to landfills for disposal.

United Waste, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, is among the largest hauling and disposal companies in the United States, with operations in 23 states. In 1996, it had sales of about $336 million.

USA Waste, based in Houston, is the third largest waste management company in North America, with operations in 36 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, and sales of $1.3 billion in 1996.

As required by the Tunney Act, the proposed consent decree will be published in the Federal Register, along with the Department's competitive impact statement. Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed decree during a 60-day comment period to J. Robert Kramer II, Chief, Litigation II Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 1401 H St., N.W., Suite 3000, Washington, D.C. 20530 (202/307-0924).

At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the court may enter the consent decree upon a finding that it serves the public interest.