• Regulators to provide another update on Nebraska nuke plant


    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Federal regulators are planning another update on the performance of a Nebraska nuclear plant that was offline for nearly three years before restarting in 2013. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting in Omaha on April 9 to discuss the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant. Fort Calhoun, which sits about 20 miles north of Omaha, was shut down from April 2011 until December 2013. It initially shut down for routine maintenance, but significant flooding in 2011, a small fire and a series of safety violations forced it to remain closed. Omaha Public Power District must demonstrate Fort Calhoun can operate safely before regulators will ease its inspections. The meeting will ru

  • Futures File: Conflict boosts oil prices; juice jumps

    Published: Sat, Mar 28, 2015

    Walt and Alex Breitinger: Weedkiller concerns could affect the agricultural industry.

  • Oklahoma oil and gas summary, plus livestock, March 28

    Published: Sat, Mar 28, 2015

    Oklahoma oil and gas summary, plus livestock, March 28

  • Oklahoma loses three oil rigs as U.S. oil rig count drops again

    By Adam Wilmoth, Energy Editor | Published: Sat, Mar 28, 2015

    The number of drilling rigs searching for oil and natural gas throughout the country slipped to 1,048 this week as oil and natural gas companies laid down another 21 rigs nationwide.

  • Bill to limit corporation role in alternate project advances

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Senate Resources Committee advanced legislation Friday that temporarily would restrict participation by a state-sponsored corporation in an alternate gas pipeline project proposed by Gov. Bill Walker. The bill, which Walker has said he would veto, could get a vote on the Senate floor next week. House Speaker Mike Chenault, the bill's lead sponsor, said earlier in the day that he was fairly confident legislators would have the votes needed to override any veto. Supporters of the bill see it as a way to reaffirm the state's support for Alaska LNG, the major liquefied natural gas project the state is pursuing with BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., TransCanada Corp., and the Alaska Gasline Develop

  • Global energy demand continues to grow

    By Adam Wilmoth, Energy Editor | Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    Global demand for energy will continue to skyrocket over the next 25 years, but improving efficiency will allow much faster economic growth while reducing the environmental affect, Bill Colton, ExxonMobil’s vice president of corporate strategic planning said Thursday at an energy symposium at the University of Oklahoma.

  • Oklahoma loses 2,400 energy sector jobs over month

    By Brianna Bailey, Business Writer | Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    Oklahoma lost 2,400 energy sector jobs in February as oil and gas producers made cuts in response to depressed crude prices.

  • Senate endorses fees for companies that close coal plants

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Senators have given initial approval to a proposal that would levy massive fines against companies that close coal plants in Montana. Senators voted 26-24 Friday to endorse Senate Bill 402, which moved out of the Senate Finance and Claims Committee on a 10-3 vote on Tuesday. The measure would require companies that close coal-fired power plants to pay two or five times the taxable value of the facility for as long as 20 years. Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Duane Ankney says his proposal scared off a bill in the Washington state Legislature that would make it easier for companies to shutter the four coal-mining units in Colstrip, Montana. It's been amended to a study and passed the Senate earlier th

  • Mexico sets 25 pct pollution cut by 2030 for climate talks

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico has become the first developing nation to submit pollutant reduction goals for next fall's Paris climate change talks, pledging Friday to cut greenhouse gas and short-lived climate pollutants 25 percent by 2030. Short-lived pollutants include "black carbon," essentially soot produced by burning wood, dung, coal and some diesel fuel, which Mexico plans to cut by half. Soot reductions would account for 3 percent of the overall 2030 target, while greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane would be cut 22 percent from 2103 levels. Mexico's Environment Department said the country's total greenhouse emissions would peak and stop growing in absolute terms by 2026. Activists and the U.S. govern

  • NY mayor: Someone may have 'inappropriately' tapped gas line

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people. "There is a possibility here that the gas line was inappropriately accessed internally" by people in one of the destroyed buildings, but officials need to get access to its basement to explore it further, de Blasio said. The number of people injured in Thursday's blast rose from 19 to 22, with four critically injured.

  • Oklahoma energy company layoffs continue to increase

    By Adam Wilmoth, Energy Editor | Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    As the price of oil continues to languish at less than half of its recent peak last summer, scattered reports of industry layoffs continue to surface in Oklahoma.

  • Stocks close with slight gains, but still end the week lower

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — A tough week on the stock market ended quietly Friday. Major indexes notched modest gains, not nearly enough to make up for the four previous days of losses. It wound up being the second-worst week for the market so far this year. The Dow Jones industrial average remains down slightly for 2015, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index is essentially flat. There was no one major catalyst to move the market one way or another Friday. Biotechnology stocks, battered over the last week, were among the top gainers, while energy stocks lagged as the price of oil fell. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,712.66. The S&P 500 rose 4.87 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,061.02 an

  • Colorado drilling plan has safeguards for Dinosaur Monument

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    DENVER (AP) — A federal government plan for drilling in energy-rich northwestern Colorado released Friday includes stepped-up protections for public land near Dinosaur National Monument. The proposal would also ease limits on what time of year drilling rigs can operate if energy companies consolidate well sites to minimize environmental disruptions. Seasonal restrictions on drilling are designed to protect wildlife during winter, nesting times and other periods when they're more vulnerable. The plan covers nearly 2,700 square miles of federal land in Rio Blanco County and parts of Moffat and Garfield counties. It's in the Bureau of Land Management's White River district. The BLM says the area could yield more th

  • RI police charge 2 men with manufacturing marijuana oil

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (AP) — Police in Portsmouth have arrested two men on charges they manufactured high-potency marijuana oil. Officers executed two search warrants Friday after a monthlong drug investigation into the manufacturing of butane hash oil. Police arrested two 29-year-old Portsmouth residents, Timothy Banville and Tyler Ottilige, on charges of manufacturing a controlled substance. Authorities say they seized cooking equipment, butane, compressors, scales, packaging equipment, marijuana, butane oil and a revolver. The manufacturing process involves forcing extremely flammable butane through the marijuana. Pot users have caused fiery explosions as they try to make the oil in crude home-based laboratories.

  • North Dakota loses lowest jobless rate as oil prices slide

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — For the first time in more than six years, North Dakota doesn't have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, due in part to sliding oil drilling activity spurred by low crude prices. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday show North Dakota's jobless rate in February was 2.9 percent, up from 2.8 percent in January. Nebraska now has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.7 percent. "Second place is still a very, very positive position to be in," said Michael Ziesch, a manager for the state's employment agency, Job Service North Dakota in Bismarck. "We still have an incredibly low unemployment rate, but the depressed price of oil has had an influence on us, certainly." Nor

  • Senate approves long-delayed bill to boost energy efficiency

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate approved a long-delayed bill to boost energy efficiency Friday that includes incentives to cut energy use in commercial buildings, manufacturing plants and homes. Senators approved the bill by voice vote shortly before beginning a two-week recess. The measure now goes to the House, where a similar bill was approved last year. The widely popular Senate bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio. A similar bill was defeated last year after it became enmeshed in a partisan fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

  • Budget-patching deal dips into various state funds

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A bipartisan agreement to plug a $1.6 billion budget hole includes more than $1.3 billion in fund transfers from a variety of sources to avert shutdowns of Illinois state programs and services. The move, signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday, digs into some of the largest piles of money in the state, including one intended to pay for highway construction, and some lesser known funds, such as ones to promote renewable energy sources and oversee the disposal of used tires. These kinds of funds have at times in past years been raided to help close budget gaps. Rauner's office said it carefully selected funds this year that have reserves of excess cash on hand. A 2.

  • With 2 session days left, Ga. lawmakers churn through bills

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    ATLANTA (AP) — With three days left in the year's session, Georgia lawmakers plowed through a packed calendar on Friday sending bills to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature or across the hall to the other chamber for review. Here's a look at some of Friday's action: SOLAR PURCHASES A bill allowing people in Georgia to finance solar panels the same way they borrow money for homes or lease cars is headed to Deal's desk. The Senate passed the bill unanimously without debate. The House already approved the legislation from Republican state Rep. Mike Dudgeon. Residents buy electricity from monopoly utilities. By law, only utilities can sell electricity in their designated territories.

  • US economic growth may be mild, but it's also really durable

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy's tepid performance last quarter — a 2.2 percent annual growth rate — was typical of the economic rebound that began in the summer of 2009. Yet the sluggish pace of the recovery has a silver lining: This growth spurt has proved to be one of the most durable since World War II. Will it last? It'll depend on a number of factors in the months ahead, including a potential rate hike by the Fed, the strong dollar, oil prices and consumer spending. The economy's performance in the October-December period matched the average growth of the past five years — a lackluster pace that has been far lower than the growth gains normally seen coming out of such a deep recession.

  • Correction: County Health Rankings-WVa story

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — In a story March 25 about county health rankings in West Virginia, The Associated Press reported erroneously when Alpha Natural Resources laid off coal miners in McDowell County. The layoffs were announced in November, not this week. A corrected version of the story is below: McDowell again is unhealthiest West Virginia county Report: McDowell repeats as unhealthiest West Virginia county; Pendleton is tops in well-being By JOHN RABY Associated Press CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The economy in impoverished McDowell County has gone downhill in the decade since U.S. Steel pulled out, and a report released Wednesday shows the county's overall well-being remains dead last in West Vi