• Missouri panel rejects plan for multistate wind power line

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri utility regulators on Wednesday denied a company's request to construct a high-voltage power line in Missouri that was planned for a multistate wind energy project. Three of the five members of the state Public Service Commission voted to reject plans for the Grain Belt Express, saying Clean Line Energy Partners failed to prove a need for the project. In a report denying the company's request Wednesday, commissioners also questioned whether the project was economically feasible and whether it would have promoted public interests. Houston-based Clean Line touted the $2.

  • US sues to block GE appliance business sale to Electrolux

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government is seeking to stop Electrolux from buying General Electric's appliance division, saying the combined company would dominate sales of ovens and other cooking-related kitchen appliances, especially to customers like home builders, property managers, hotels, and governments. General Electric Co. and Electrolux said they will defend the $3.3 billion sale in court and aim to complete it this year. The companies announced the deal in September. The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit Wednesday asking a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to block the sale. The agency said the deal would eliminate a major competitor and leave Electrolux and Whirlpool as the only big companies in the U.S.

  • Amid uncertainty, Virginia utility makes transitional plan

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Dominion Virginia Power on Wednesday suggested how it may transition to new ways of generating energy, citing the uncertainty of new U.S. environmental rules. Virginia's largest utility said in a regulatory filing that its short-term energy plan includes natural gas and some renewables, but for the first time Dominion did not file a long-term, or preferred, plan. Instead, it listed plausible long-term options that include utility-scale solar and nuclear, among others. Dominion outlined its vision in what is called an integrated resource plan, which offers a 15-year window into its likely generation future. It was filed with the State Corporation Commission. In a letter submitted to the SCC, Domini

  • Judge orders Colorado oilman to pay $16.8M in legal fees

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Colorado oilman must pay $16.8 million to reimburse energy companies for legal fees they incurred defending his unsuccessful lawsuits against them, a federal judge has ordered. Jack Grynberg received national attention when he filed scores of lawsuits against natural gas and pipeline companies around the West in the late 1990s. Grynberg claimed the companies had underreported energy production from federal lands by billions of dollars and claimed he was due a share of the funds as a whistleblower under the federal False Claims Act. He stood to collect up to 30 percent of any award, but said he intended to donate proceeds to charity if he was successful.

  • WVa study: Drill waste in landfills unlikely to get in water

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A study by state regulators says it's unlikely that significant amounts of untreated natural gas drilling waste in landfills will impact groundwater or surface water. In the event that the waste's runoff did hit nearby water untreated, however, the material would likely exceed chemical limits for drinking water and be toxic to plants and invertebrate life, the study concludes. In a report released Wednesday, the Department of Environmental Protection looked into the runoff from drill cuttings dumped into landfills. The report studied four of the six West Virginia landfills that accept drilling waste, and compared them to two others that don't.

  • Kansas utility agrees to refund $10M, drop electric rates

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The largest electric utility in Kansas would refund $10 million to its customers and decrease future rates slightly under an agreement Wednesday to settle a complaint filed by state regulators with the federal government. Westar Energy Inc., based in Topeka, also would receive lower earnings from its transmission investments than it was receiving before the Kansas Corporation Commission filed its complaint last year with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The company estimated that its residential customers would save an average of 40 cents a month, starting early next year. The federal commission sets rates to cover transmission costs, and Kansas regulators objected to the 11.

  • SUVs, muscle cars help auto industry maintain momentum

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    DETROIT (AP) — Americans again bought vehicles that sit up high and come loaded with features like backup cameras and smartphone capabilities in June. Horsepower was also in; gas-sipping not so much. SUVs of all sizes continued to fly off dealer lots. Sales of the larger Ford Explorer rose 30 percent; Nissan's Rogue small SUV posted a 54 percent jump; and sales of the Jeep Cherokee gained 39 percent. Total sales rose 3.9 percent over last June to 1.48 million, according to Autodata Corp. For the first half of the year, sales gained 4.4 percent to 8.5 million. Buoyed by the momentum, the National Automobile Dealers Association this week raised its full-year sales forecast to 17.2 million vehicles from just under 17 mil

  • The Latest: Senate OKs gas tax hike as Calley breaks tie

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest from the Capitol on the Michigan Senate's consideration of a $1.5 billion road-funding plan (all times local). ___ 5:25 p.m. The Republican-led Michigan Senate has approved a 15-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax increase phased in over three years after Lt. Gov. Brian Calley broke a 19-19 tie. Eighteen Republicans and one Democrat voted for the bill Wednesday. Ten Democrats and nine Republicans opposed it. It's a major piece of a $1.5 billion road-funding plan being approved by the Senate. Other bills would redirect $700 million in general funds a year toward roads and trigger income tax cuts if the general funds grows by more than inflation.

  • Dominion seeks Va. OK to build $1.3 billion gas-fired plant

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Dominion Virginia Power is seeking regulatory approval of a proposed $1.3 billion gas-fired power plant in Greensville County. The power company filed the request Wednesday with the State Corporation Commission in Richmond. The power plant would generate about 1,600 megawatts of energy, or enough power for 400,000 homes during peak demand. If approved, construction would begin next year. Dominion said construction of the power plant would create more than 1,000 jobs. Forty-five workers would operate the plant. The company described the plant as a state-of-the-art generating station that would use the latest technology to reduce pollution.

  • Legislature passes $16.1 billion transportation revenue bill

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A $16.1 billion transportation revenue bill that includes an 11.9-cent increase in the gas tax over the next two years passed the Legislature early Wednesday, though the House still must approve key accompanying bills. A dispute between Senate Democrats and Republicans over unrelated bills led to a hourslong overnight delay in the vote. Senators returned to the floor around dawn to vote on changes made in the House, passing the bipartisan compromise revenue bill on a 37-8 vote and sending it to the governor. To complete the package, the House still needs to pass a Senate-approved bonding bill and spending bill, which designates the money to specific projects. Republican Sen.

  • NY environmental commissioner Martens resigns

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A day after enacting a promised ban on fracking, New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens has announced that he'll step down this month. The Open Space Institute, a Manhattan-based non-profit land preservation group, said Wednesday that Martens will join the group this summer as a consultant focusing on national climate change policy. Martens headed the group before he was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to head the DEC in 2011. Martens said in an email to DEC staff Tuesday evening that his executive deputy, Marc Gerstman, will serve as acting commissioner until Cuomo appoints a successor.

  • Construction begins on 185-megawatt wind farm in Maine

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    BINGHAM, Maine (AP) — Construction has begun on a wind farm in Bingham that is anticipated to be the state's largest wind energy project. SunEdison announced Wednesday it had secured $360 million in financing for the wind farm that is expected to produce 185 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 65,000 homes. The total cost of the project is estimated at $420 million. When it's finished in late 2016, the 56-turbine farm will bring SunEdison's total wind-generation capacity in Maine to 552 megawatts. Missouri-based SunEdison says it will sell the electricity to three New England utilities in New England; Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil.

  • The Latest: Meeting between Wolf, lawmakers ends quickly

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Developments in the Pennsylvania Capitol a day after Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a state budget proposal passed by lawmakers with no Democratic votes (all times local): ___ 2:35 p.m. A state budget meeting between Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders is over less than a half-hour after it began. The Democratic governor met behind closed doors with senior lawmakers on Wednesday to chart a direction for talks now that he's vetoed a Republican-crafted spending plan. The two sides agreed to have staff aides meet again on Monday. Wolf told attendees that he's still considering the liquor privatization and public-sector pension change bills that are on his desk. Wolf hasn't said whet

  • PSO files $172 million rate case for environmental compliance

    By Paul Monies Business Writer pmonies@oklahoman.com | Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    Public Service Co. of Oklahoma said its rate case would increase the typical residential customer bill more than $14 per month. The utility has to comply with several federal environmental rules.

  • Kansas residents have higher taxes but less gun regulation

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas residents are paying higher taxes on cigarettes, groceries and other consumer goods but no longer have to obtain a state permit to carry a concealed gun under new laws that took effect Wednesday. The state increased sales and cigarette taxes to avert a deficit in the $15.4 billion state budget for the fiscal year that also began July 1. A summary of the new laws is as follows: ___ HIGHER TAXES The state's sales tax has increased to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent, and the cigarette tax has jumped by 50 cents a pack, to $1.29.

  • MDU seeks to raise electric, gas rates in South Dakota

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. is seeking to raise electric and natural gas rates for its customers in South Dakota. The North Dakota-based utility has filed rate increase requests with South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission. MDU says that if approved, the increases would raise a residential South Dakota gas customer's bill by an average of $2.20 a month, and an electrical customer's bill by an average of $16.90. MDU cites increased demand for services, increased operating costs and an increased investment in its facilities as reasons for the rate hike requests. MDU serves about 8,600 electric customers in 30 South Dakota communities and about 57,600 natural gas customers in 25 communitie

  • Survey: US political and generation gaps on science issues

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Age divides Americans on science issues just as much as political ideology, a new analysis of recent polling shows. There are dramatic generation gaps in opinions on global warming, offshore drilling, nuclear power, childhood vaccines, gene modification to reduce a baby's disease risk, untested medicine use, lab tests on animals, and evolution, according to the Pew Research Center. Pew analyzed 22 different science issues in a survey of 2,002 people nationwide last August and a few later polls to see what demographic factors divide the nation on science issues. "The striking story is how different the patterns are depending on what the issue is," said Lee Rainie, Pew's director of science issues rese

  • US manufacturing growth improves in June; hiring jumps

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing growth improved in June, helped by a jump in employment. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Wednesday that its manufacturing index rose to 53.5 last month from 52.8 in May. Manufacturing activity matched January's level for the highest this year. Any reading above 50 signals expansion. Manufacturing growth has accelerated for the past two months, evidence that U.S. factories are beginning to adapt and overcome the drags caused by a rise in the dollar's value and cheaper oil prices, two trends that date back to last fall. The gauge of new orders rose slightly to 56 from 55.8.

  • US stocks open higher following gains in European markets

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are opening higher following gains in Europe as investors hope Greece can find a way to remain in the eurozone. Greece's government appeared to be softening its stance toward its creditors, but European officials ruled out any deal before a Greek referendum this weekend. Chubb Corp. soared 32 percent after the insurance company agreed to be acquired by Ace for about $28 billion. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 160 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,782 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 16 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,079. The Nasdaq composite climbed 45 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,033. European markets also rose. Germany's DAX inc

  • Russia halts gas supply to Ukraine amid pricing dispute

    Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian gas company Gazprom halted supplies to neighboring Ukraine on Wednesday after the collapse of pricing talks, a company official said — but an EU official said the dispute would not affect the flow of Russian gas to Europe. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Russia stopped deliveries at 10 a.m. because Ukraine didn't make an advance payment for July's gas. "Gazprom is not going to send gas to Ukraine at any price without the advance payment," Miller said in comments carried by Russian news agencies. The latest energy dispute comes as Russian support to separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine has strained the relations between Russia and Ukraine.




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