• Lawmakers vote to make W. Virginia right-to-work state


    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia, a suffering coal mining state shaped by the sometimes-bloody history of its organized labor, is set to become the 26th state with a so-called right-to-work law. In House and Senate party-line votes Friday, lawmakers rebuked a veto Thursday by Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The move will solidify a law that proponents say will draw in business and give workers more freedom over their ties to unions, but which opponents say is solely meant to undercut unions. The law becomes effective July 1. Along similar partisan lines Friday, the Legislature dealt another blow to unions by overriding a second Tomblin veto, of a law that will eliminate the state's prevailing wage on public construc

  • OG&E files application for scrubbers with Oklahoma Corporation Commission

    By Paul Monies Business Writer pmonies@oklahoman.com | Yesterday

    No rate increase for OG&E customers included in company's latest filing with regulators.

  • Landowners win case against Bluegrass Pipeline


    FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Landowners who had opposed efforts to put a natural gas pipeline across 13 counties have been victorious in the Kentucky Supreme Court. The court decided Thursday not to review a May 2015 ruling from the Kentucky Court of Appeals that said Bluegrass Pipeline LLC did not have the power of eminent domain because it was not a utility regulated by the state, according to multiple media reports. Because the Supreme Court didn't review the appeal, the appellate court's decision stands, said Kentuckians United to Restrain Eminent Domain attorney Tom FitzGerald. "Today is a good day for Kentucky landowners and for freedom," FitzGerald posted on his Facebook page.

  • Recalls this week: ceiling lamps, propane gas


    More than 1 million ceiling lamps sold at Ikea are being recalled this week because the glass shades can fall and shatter. Other recalled consumer products include 118 million gallons of propane gas and infant booties with decorative pompoms that pose a choking hazard. Here's a more detailed look: IKEA CEILING LAMPS DETAILS: Ikea HYBY and LOCK ceiling lamps. Type number and the model name of the lamps are on a label attached to the electrical lamp housing. The HYBY is type number T1011 and the LOCK is type number T0201. The HYBY was sold from October 2012 through January 2016 and the LOCK was sold from November 2002 through January 2016. The HYBY cost $13 and the LOCK cost $5.

  • Gas leak under control, but steps remain until it's sealed


    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A utility company got control of a leaking well that spewed natural gas for nearly four months and uprooted thousands of Los Angeles residents. Here's a look at what needs to be done to seal it permanently and what happens after the state certifies the well is dead. WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM? Southern California Gas Co. reported in October that gas was leaking from a storage well at its Aliso Canyon facility. The leak occurred in a well drilled in 1953 to pump oil from beneath the Santa Susana Mountains. After wells in the area ran dry, the field was converted in the 1970s to store natural gas. Wells are used to pump gas underground for storage and then withdraw it when demand spikes.

  • TVA abandoning plan for new reactors at idled Alabama plant


    HOLLYWOOD, Ala. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority said Friday it is giving up on plans to construct new reactors at its unfinished, multibillion-dollar Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in northeast Alabama. While the decision closed the door on the idea of adding next-generation reactors to the plant, a spokesman said the federal utility still was considering what to do with the two incomplete reactors at the long-mothballed plant. The TVA already has spent more than $4.3 billion at Bellefonte, which is located along the Tennessee River about 50 miles east of Huntsville. Work began there more than four decades ago. Construction began at Bellefonte in 1974 during the heyday of nuclear power in the United States, but it was

  • Senate passes bill blocking study of clean-power rules


    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has passed a bill that would block a state regulatory commission from spending money to study how to comply with new federal clean-power rules until a legal challenge is resolved. The chamber's 37-2 vote on Thursday night sends the measure to the House. The vote came just two days after a divided U.S. Supreme Court put President Barack Obama's signature plan to address climate change on hold amid the legal challenges. The federal rules require states to develop plans for reducing carbon emissions from power plants, and each state is assigned targets over the next 15 years.

  • US rig count drops 30 this week to 541; Texas down 14


    HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 30 this week to 541. The Houston company said Friday 439 rigs sought oil and 102 explored for natural gas amid depressed energy prices. A year ago, 1,358 rigs were active. Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas declined by 14 rigs, New Mexico and Oklahoma each dropped four and North Dakota was down three. Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wyoming lost two apiece and Kansas was off by one. California and Louisiana gained one rig each. Alaska, Arkansas, Ohio, Utah and West Virginia were all unchanged. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in

  • New Mexico officials support proposed methane rules


    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A group of local and state elected leaders is supporting a federal proposal that would clamp down on oil and gas companies that burn off natural gas on public land. The 40 elected officials sent a letter Friday to the head of the Bureau of Land Management. They say New Mexico is among the states with an economy tied closely to the taxes, royalties and other fees earned from oil and gas development and the proposed rules would allow local governments to recoup what would otherwise be lost revenue. They also say the rules would help reduce methane emissions and pointed to a methane hot spot identified over the Four Corners region.

  • Dominion outlines new national forest route for pipeline


    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Energy companies behind the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have carved a new proposed route through parts of West Virginia and Virginia in response to federal concerns about the national gas pipeline's initial path through sensitive national forest areas. The alternate released Friday by Dominion Resources Inc. would reduce by one-third the pipeline's footprint through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests, but add 30 miles to the 550-mile project. The alternate route would also affect 249 new landowners in both states, Dominion said. Dominion said it worked extensively with the U.S.

  • Black Hills Corp. completes purchase of SourceGas Holdings


    RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota-based Black Hills Corp. says it has completed its purchase of Colorado-based SourceGas Holdings. Black Hills Corp. serves 792,000 natural gas and electric utility customers in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. SourceGas is a natural gas utility serving about 425,000 customers in Arkansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. Utility commissions in those states approved the deal. The purchase also includes a 512-mile natural gas pipeline in Colorado. The deal was for about $1.9 billion, including Black Hills Corp.'s assumption of $760 million of debt.

  • What on earth is a portable gasification system?

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Yesterday

    One person’s trash is another’s energy. That’s the case at OSU, where researchers have developed a portable gasification system called RE:POD, which, well, we’ll let CEO and RE:POD co-founder Casey Warren explain what RE:POD does: "We create electricity from the trash that you throw out every single day," Warren said. "This is really a Swiss Army knife. It can be used at a mall, it can be used at a hospital, a factory, an ag placement like a feed lot or chicken farm." That’s from energy editor Adam Wilmoth’s story in Friday’s edition of The Oklahoman, which goes on to name some pretty big names that have interest in RE:POD, including Walmart and Unilever.

  • US retail sales rise as consumers shrug off stock price drop


    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales rose modestly in January, evidence that Americans kept shopping despite sharp drops in stock prices. The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent last month, the same as in December. Excluding the effect of falling gas prices, sales rose 0.4 percent. Sales in December were revised higher from an initial estimate of a 0.1 percent drop. Steady hiring and early signs that employers are finally handing out higher wages means that Americans have more money to spend. A key question for the economy this year is whether consumer spending can keep growing and offset the impacts of stock market volatility and slowing growth overseas.

  • The Latest: European markets close higher after tough week


    LONDON (AP) — The latest on the turmoil in global financial markets (all times local): 5:20 p.m. European stock markets have closed higher after a hugely turbulent week. Germany's DAX index ended the day up 2.5 percent at 8,967.51 while Britain's FTSE 100 gained 3.1 percent to 5,707.60. France's CAC 40 ended 2.5 percent higher at 3,995.06. Bank shares led the way on Friday, with Deutsche Bank rallying 11.8 percent after saying it would buy back over $5 billion worth of its own bonds. Commerzbank jumped 18 percent after it announced its first dividend since 2007. ___ 3:20 p.m. Friday looks set to be an up-day in European stock markets, providing a welcome respite for many traders at the end of w

  • Illinois News Digest


    Good morning. Here's a look at how AP's general news coverage is shaping up in Illinois at 8:30 a.m. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP-Chicago bureau at 312-781-0500 or chifax@ap.org. Caryn Rousseau is on the desk followed by Herbert McCann. AP-Illinois News Editor Hugh Dellios can be reached at 312-920-3624 or hdellios@ap.org. A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Central. Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stori

  • US stocks open higher as oil rebounds, banks rise


    U.S. stocks opened higher, seeking their first gain this week, as beaten-down energy and financial companies rebounded. Banks rose Friday after Deutsche Bank offered to buy more than $5 billion in bonds. Its shares were up 9 percent. JP Morgan Chase was up 5 percent. Oil jumped 6 percent, helping to lift energy company shares. Drilling company Transocean was up 5 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 130 points, or 0.8 percent, to 15,790 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 18 points, or 1 percent, to 1,847. The Nasdaq composite rose 42 points, or 1 percent, to 4,300. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.695 percent.

  • New Orleans Mayor Landrieu hails Mardi Gras as a success


    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — From a decline in arrests to a rise in airport passengers, Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Thursday hailed the Carnival season in New Orleans as a success. The city released numbers on arrests, the cleanup and the number of visitors for the season, which ended on Ash Wednesday. The figures show that arrests were down this year from last in the most-trafficked areas. The city attributed the decline to a strong police presence. The city also said that city streets were cleaned within two hours of the end of parades and that the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport saw a seven-year high in the number of passengers traveling through the airport. But crowds might have been a bit smaller this year, b

  • Massive gas leak plugged; residents seek return to normal


    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The massive gas leak that spewed uncontrollably for nearly four months drove thousands of Los Angeles residents to pack up and leave their homes, while others rode it out. Vicky Walker did both, turning her life upside down shuttling between hotels and home every few days, where she lived like a shut-in and stopped walking her dog to avoid the foul stench of gas. While others blamed the leak for nosebleeds, nausea, headaches and other woes, Walker said she developed a persistent cough and packed on at least five pounds. So it was with a measure of relief that she greeted the news Thursday that the blowout had been stopped for the first time in 16 weeks. "I want to get back to life as I knew it

  • Earnings season could highlight tough quarter

    By Adam Wilmoth Energy Editor awilmoth@oklahoman.com | Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    Oklahoma's larger, publicly traded energy companies over the next two weeks will help clarify how still-low oil and natural gas prices are affecting their businesses and the industry.

  • Budget hole grows to $1.3 billion amid oil bust

    By RICK M. GREEN Capitol Bureau rmgreen@oklahoman.com | Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    There will be 19.1 percent less money to appropriate for the 2017 fiscal year than was available for the current budget, Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services officials said Thursday.