• Thanksgiving travel up to highest level since 2007

    Yesterday

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — More than 2 million New Englanders plan to travel this Thanksgiving — up 4 percent from last year — and they'll be greeted at the pump by the lowest Thanksgiving holiday gas prices since 2007. AAA's newly released holiday travel data predicts that more than 46 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for the holiday — designated as Wednesday through Sunday. The average travelers will journey more than 500 miles roundtrip. State-level data is not available, but of the 2 million projected New England travelers, roughly 1.8 million will travel by car. Air travel is also up. These are the highest projected travel numbers for the holiday since 2007. New Hampshire's gas prices are av

  • North Dakota lawmaker wants no state income tax

    Yesterday

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — With the state treasury flush with billions of dollars in oil money, at least one state lawmaker thinks North Dakotans could better spend the roughly $500 million collected annually from the levy. When the Legislature reconvenes in January, Rep. Scott Louser said he will introduce a bill that would set the state income tax rate at 0 percent, rather than push for an outright repeal. "It will put more money back in the pockets of residents," the Minot Republican said. "A stimulation of the economy is the side effect." If successful, North Dakota would be the first state to eliminate its income tax since Alaska did it in 1980 after oil started flowing there.

  • Conservation groups file lawsuit on sea turtles

    Yesterday

    SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Several conservation groups filed lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. They alleged the government's role in allowing the deaths of thousands of imperiled sea turtles and countless other marine animals outside of power plant cooling systems. The Center for Biological Diversity said it filed the lawsuit in federal court on Friday. The groups say thousands of sea turtles get sucked into power plant cooling systems each year, including at the Big Bend, Anclote, Crystal River, Bayside and P.L. Bartow plants in Florida. Sea turtle species are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

  • Future Files: Abundant supplies send gasoline, corn and soybean prices down

    By Walt and Alex Breitinger, For The Oklahoman | Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    Walt and Alex Breitinger: Concern about potential Florida freeze pumps up prices for orange juice futures.

  • Legal Matters: What are the steps for completing a transfer of mineral interest ownership?

    By Julie Stanley, For The Oklahoman | Published: Sun, Nov 23, 2014

    Legal Matters: It is not uncommon in Oklahoma for individuals to receive a letter from a company inquiring about mineral interests owned by the individual’s deceased family members. If you receive such a letter, how should you respond to complete the transfer from the deceased family member to the successor owners?

  • 37 homes collapse, dozens injured in Japan quake

    Updated: Sat, Nov 22, 2014

    TOKYO (AP) — Helicopter surveys on Sunday showed more extensive damage than earlier thought from an overnight earthquake in the mountainous central Japan area that hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. At least 37 homes were destroyed in two villages, and 39 people were injured across the region, including seven seriously, mostly with broken bones, officials said. The magnitude-6.7 earthquake struck shortly after 10 p.m. (1300 GMT) Saturday west of Nagano city at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The agency revised the magnitude from a preliminary 6.8 while the U.S. Geological Survey measured it at 6.2. Since the quake occurred inland, there was no possibility of a tsunami.

  • Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation looks into embezzlement allegations at Choctaw Electric Cooperative

    By Paul Monies, Business Writer | Updated: Sat, Nov 22, 2014

    The rural electric co-op in Hugo recently fired its general manager after allegations arose about misusing co-op equipment. The co-op’s board has turned the findings of an outside investigation over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

  • AAA: Md. drivers paying $2.85 per gallon

    Updated: Sat, Nov 22, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Motorists in Maryland are paying five cents less at the pump when compared with a week ago. AAA Mid-Atlantic said Friday in a weekly report that the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Maryland was $2.85, down from $2.90 a week ago. The price of gas in the state is a penny more than the national average of $2.84. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in cities around the state includes $2.83 in Baltimore, $2.92 in Cumberland, $2.88 in Hagerstown and $2.82 in Salisbury. Motorists in the state are paying 46 cents less than at this time last year when the average price of a gallon of regular gas was $3.31 per gallon.

  • Cheaper gas sends consumers back to big vehicles

    By Adam Wilmoth, Energy Editor | Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    Tumbling gasoline prices have reversed recent vehicle purchase trends.

  • State Oks 29 percent rate hike for WMECo

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    BOSTON (AP) — State regulators have approved a 29 percent rate increase sought by Western Massachusetts Electric Co., which serves about 200,000 customers in Western Massachusetts. WMECo has said the rate increase would take effect Jan. 1 and remain in effect for six months. It would raise the average residential customer's bill by about $26 a month. The increase was approved Friday by the state Department of Public Utilities. WMECo had sought it to offset its costs in competing for the natural gas it uses to generate electricity. Natural gas supplies have in tight supply in New England. In September, Massachusetts regulators approved a 37 percent rate increase for National Grid's 1.3 million electric customers.

  • Texas auditor criticizes program run by schools

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    DALLAS (AP) — State Auditor John Keel is criticizing an economic development program run by Texas school districts, saying they're being passive about checking whether companies actually are creating high-paying jobs as promised. Keel's report was released Friday. Keel was required to audit the program, known as "Chapter 313," as part of a law extending it through 2024. He said districts are giving away more than $200 million a year in property tax breaks without confirming if the businesses are creating the pledged jobs. "The school districts relied primarily on information that the businesses certified to be true and correct," Keel said.

  • Report: Grouse needs 3-mile buffer from drilling

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A government report with significant implications for the U.S. energy industry says a struggling bird species needs a 3-mile buffer between its breeding grounds and oil and gas drilling, wind farms and solar projects. The study comes as the Obama administration weighs new protections for the greater sage grouse. The ground-dwelling, chicken-sized birds range across 11 western states and two Canadian provinces. A 3-mile buffer for the birds represents a much larger area than the no-occupancy zones where drilling and other activity is prohibited under some state and federal land management plans.

  • Worker in deadly Gulf blast was cleaning equipment

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A worker killed in an offshore explosion was cleaning a piece of equipment during routine maintenance at its oil-and-gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the company that runs the platform said Friday. Houston-based Fieldwood Energy LLC said another worker suffered "visible injury" and two others reported ringing in their ears after the explosion, which was reported just before 3 p.m. Thursday. The company said the three injured workers have been released from the hospital. Fieldwood said the worker who was killed Thursday was cleaning a piece of equipment that separates oil from water liquids when an "isolated pressure event" occurred.

  • Deal protects most of wild plateau from drilling

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    DENVER (AP) — Most of the wild and gas-rich Roan Plateau in western Colorado will be off-limits to drilling under a compromise announced Friday by conservation groups and an energy company. Bill Barrett Corp. will give up its right to drill for natural gas on about 56 square miles in 17 parcels it had leased from the federal government atop the plateau. That will protect abundant wildlife, forests and sagebrush country from development. Two other parcels that Barrett leased, covering seven square miles on the plateau's top, will be freed up from a 6-year-old lawsuit. Drilling could begin in two to four years, after environmental studies and permits are complete, officials said. Barrett will also be refunded $47.6 mill

  • Wildlife land fracking could yield $6M, royalties

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A company has bid $6.2 million plus royalties to drill for natural gas and oil under state wildlife conservation land in Tyler County. Denver-based Antero Resources is offering to pay more than $12,000 an acre for fracking rights under Conaway Run Wildlife Management Area, state Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said. The bid includes a 20-percent royalty on what's extracted, and the lease would likely last three years. The bid on the 518-acre wildlife area's oil and natural gas rights was unveiled Friday in Charleston. The land is used for hunting, fishing and camping, and includes a 100-yard rifle range. Houston-based Noble Energy submitted a bid for about half the upfront money with the sam

  • Jury orders Irish man to pay $2M over ethanol deal

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A wealthy Irish investor must pay $2 million in damages to an Iowa doctor who was cut out of a major ethanol development in eastern Europe, a jury ruled Friday. Branimir Catipovic, a doctor at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Des Moines, proved his civil claim of unjust enrichment against Dublin entrepreneur Mark Turley, the federal jury in Sioux City ruled. The verdict, which rejected a breach of contract claim, capped a lengthy civil trial. Catipovic is a Croatia native who moved to the United States.

  • Correction: Emissions Reductions-Minnesota story

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — In a story Nov. 20 about greenhouse gas emissions, The Associated Press reported erroneously that state officials said Minnesota is not on track to meet emissions standards set by the federal government. State officials said Minnesota is not on track to meet emissions standards set by the state. A corrected version of the story is below: Minnesota not on track to meet emission reductions Minnesota not on track to meet state-set greenhouse gas reduction goals ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) —Minnesota isn't on track to meet state-set targets for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions that are aimed at addressing climate change, state officials said Thursday.

  • Alpha, Patriot Coal lay off 190 in Ky., W.Va.

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two coal companies have announced the layoffs of 190 workers in West Virginia and Kentucky. A statement from St. Louis-based Patriot Coal says 130 workers have been idled immediately at its Corridor G Mining Complex near Madison. Patriot cites the struggling coal market and a difficult regulatory environment for the layoffs. Alpha Natural Resources says in West Virginia, layoffs involve 25 workers at a Wayne County mine, 22 at the Ruby Energy mine in Mingo County, and one worker at a Delbarton Prep Plant. In Kentucky, 12 workers will be idled from Alpha's Taylor Fork mine in Pike County, while 26 others will work for an undetermined amount of time to remove equipment and close the mine.

  • Puerto Rico legislators to debate oil tax increase

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's governor on Friday called a special legislative session for next week to debate a measure that seeks to boost an oil tax by 68 percent. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said legislators will meet starting Monday as part of a session that can legally be extended for up to 20 days. The measure aims to help sell up to $2.9 billion in bonds and strengthen the debt-ridden Highway and Transportation Authority. If approved, the U.S. territory's excise tax on a barrel of crude oil would increase from $9.25 to $15.50 and generate $178 million a year. Supporters have said the increase would not affect the price of electricity on an island where power bills on average are more than twice t

  • Dow, S&P 500 push further into record territory

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    U.S. stocks capped a week that already had several record highs by delivering a couple more. The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index carved out all-time highs on Friday, extending the market's gains for the week. It was the third record close for the Dow in the week and the fourth for the S&P 500. The latest records extended a comeback in the S&P 500, which has increased 11 percent since plunging in mid-October. Investors on Friday cheered news of an interest rate cut in China and the possibility that Europe's central bank will step up stimulus efforts in the region.