• New Jersey critiques US power plant plans

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie's administration is joining other critics of President Barack Obama in voicing disproval for a federal proposal to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The state called the planned rules "incomplete, needlessly complex and impossible to implement" in a letter to the federal Environmental Protection Agency last month. New Jersey environmentalists say Christie's Department of Environmental Protection is out of line by calling for the rules to be withdrawn rather than just reworked. It's the latest of a string of clashes between environmental advocates and Christie. Some environmentalists say Christie is more concerned with a possible presidential run than New Je

  • McCrory to propose new NC road-building sources

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory and North Carolina legislators praised each other for the new method they approved last year to fund transportation projects they say is based not on who you know but more on reducing gridlock and creating jobs. The result, the state Department of Transportation says, is efficiencies to fund 300 additional projects in its first 10-year road-building proposal released this month under new evaluation formulas. "Everybody understood that we needed to get politics out of the road and transportation decision-making business," Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said.

  • Greek prime minister open to 2015 early elections

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's prime minister says early general elections could be called by the end of 2015 if the current legislature can elect a president and if negotiations with the country's creditors on post-bailout aid are completed. Antonis Samaras on Sunday pleaded for lawmakers to "listen to their conscience...the national interest and common sense." Samaras added that after electing a president, the governing coalition could be enlarged with more pro-European lawmakers. For the first time, Samaras appeared open to the possibility of early elections "toward the end of 2015," he said. The present Parliament's mandate ends in June 2016. Wednesday's first ballot on a new president showed that Parliament is fa

  • Saudi oil chief: No conspiracy behind oil prices


    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia's oil chief on Sunday dismissed allegations that his kingdom conspired to bring down oil prices in order to harm other countries and told a summit of Arab energy leaders that he was confident the market would stabilize. The kingdom, which is dependent on oil revenues, is able to weather lower oil prices due to large reserves built up over the years. Non-OPEC member Russia and other nations like Iraq, Iran and Venezuela need prices substantially above present levels to meet budget goals and want to drive prices up. Saudi Arabia maintains it is opposed to cutting production because of fears its market share could erode.

  • Tourism suffers in winter of EU-Russia discontent


    PARIS (AP) — Russia's tensions with the West over Ukraine and the slump for the ruble are echoing through the French Alps — and unfortunately for some businesses, just in time for ski season. Hoteliers, taxi drivers and ski stations in France's wintertime hotspots and beyond say a tourism boom by big-spending Russians in recent years is about to melt away because of Russia's economic crisis, Western sanctions and a drop in oil prices that is keeping both uber-rich and middle class Russians away as the year ends. As Moscow and the West began a faceoff over violence in Ukraine this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S and European sanctions would cut both ways.

  • June 8 deadline set for BP settlement claims


    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — People and businesses who lost money because of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill have until June 8 to file claims. The deadline doesn't apply to seafood-related businesses. BP PLC made separate settlements for medical claims and for seafood-related business claims A notice last week on the claims center's website says the deadline for other economic loss claims is six months from Dec. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear BP's appeal. The London-based oil giant argued that lower courts misinterpreted settlement terms, putting BP on the hook to pay inflated and bogus business claims. According to the claims office website, more than 203,000 claims had been submitted by Friday.

  • Futures File: Russia's economic woes affect currency, grain prices

    Published: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    Walt and Alex Breitinger: The ruble has collapsed, and the ensuing currency crisis has made it difficult for Russia to sell its wheat on the global market.

  • Gallagher helps Canadiens beat Senators, 4-1

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    MONTREAL (AP) — Brendan Gallagher helped the Montreal Canadiens cap a great homestand with another win. Gallagher scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period, Carey Price stopped 24 shots, and the Canadiens beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Saturday night. Brandon Prust, Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk also scored and Max Pacioretty had two assists for Montreal, which completed a 4-1-0 homestand after losing six of their previous seven (1-5-1). "That was big for us," Gallagher said. "When we started that home stretch things weren't going great for us, so it was good to be able to turn it around here, get some wins and get our confidence back. "Now we go on the road and we know what style of hockey we have

  • State approves controversial drilling permit in St. Tammany

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources has approved a drilling permit for Helis Oil & Gas Co., which plans a fracking project that many St. Tammany Parish residents vehemently oppose. The department posted a notice on its website late Friday saying it had approved the permit for a vertical well about 2 ½ miles deep. The permit is for an exploration well. New state approval and an Army Corps of Engineers wetlands permit would be needed if the company decides to proceed with hydraulic fracturing.

  • Devon Energy donates $1 million to Oklahoma City Geological Society

    By Adam Wilmoth, Energy Editor | Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    Devon Energy Corp. has agreed to donate $1 million to help the Oklahoma City Geological Society pay for its new downtown headquarters.

  • AP PHOTOS: A look at 2014 in the business world

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — No one said the recovery from the global financial crisis would be easy and 2014 provided that in spades. While the U.S. economy, the world's largest, is showing clear signs that its recovery is self-sustaining, the picture elsewhere is far less rosy entering 2015. Concerns remain over the Chinese economy, the world's second-largest, while Japan, the No. 3, has fallen back into recession despite a raft of stimulus efforts. And in Europe, economic stagnation appears to be the new status quo despite the welcome news that Greece's savage six-year recession is over. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve has called time on its monetary stimulus after six years and has hinted that it could start raising interest ra

  • Vote planned on electric rate-hike request

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Public Utilities Commission will soon decide whether electric rates will increase 24 percent. The commission considered the rate-hike request at a meeting last week and plans to vote on Tuesday in Warwick. A crowd chanted "just say no" during the 2 ½-hour meeting last week. The George Wiley Center, a poverty advocacy group in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is encouraging people who are against the proposal to attend Tuesday's meeting as well. Thomas Kogut, a spokesman for the PUC, has said many regional utility companies have filed for similar increases because of constraints on the gas pipeline that force up the price of electricity generation.

  • Oklahoma charts rapid personal income growth

    By Brianna Bailey, Business Writer | Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    Energy sector earnings have increased 128 percent in state since the end of the Great Recession.

  • Falling oil prices worry Algeria

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — With oil prices at their lowest in five years and showing few signs of hitting bottom, Algeria is feeling the pinch. Though its problems are dwarfed by the impact on Russia for example, Algeria may have to rein back many of the policies it has held dear over many years. Generous subsidies, for one, may have to be scaled back despite the potential risk of social unrest in the North African country. Oil revenues make up 97 percent of the country's hard currency earnings and 60 percent of the government's budget. Like Russia, which has seen a full-scale run on its currency, there have been few efforts to diversify the economy away from oil and gas.

  • Holiday cheer at gas pumps, as prices keep falling

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Motorists are getting a holiday gift at the pumps in New Jersey. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas in the state on Friday was $2.43. That's down another 12 cents from last week, when prices were down 10 cents from the week before. Motorists were paying $3.28 a year ago and this marks the 14th straight week that gas prices have fallen in New Jersey. The national average price on Friday was $2.45, down 15 cents from last week and down from $3.21 from last year. AAA spokeswoman Tracy Noble says that this is the lowest Americans are paying at the pump since 2009. Prices are expected to remain relatively low into 2015, barring any unexpected spikes in global

  • NC officially bans gas for euthanizing shelter animals

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's ban on the use of gas to euthanize animals becomes official early next year, although it appears most shelters have given up the practice, officials say. Patricia Norris, director of animal welfare in the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, sent a memo in early December advising shelters that they must stop using gas chambers for euthanasia as of Feb. 15, 2015. Most, if not all, shelters have moved entirely to lethal injection, Norris said. The changes began in 2013 when the American Veterinary Medical Association removed its approval of carbon monoxide for routine euthanasia of dogs and cats, Norris said.

  • Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    GAIL, Texas (AP) — Ranchers across Texas have gotten creative with their land after drought conditions decimated cattle numbers in the nation's leading production state. Many ranchers in Texas are opening up their pastures to hunters, while others are selling water to oil companies or desert plants and mistletoe to nurseries. 2011 was the state's driest year on record, causing ranchers to heavily cull their herds. The reduced numbers have contributed to record high beef prices. West Texas rancher John R. Anderson said he's keeping an open mind on ways to recoup profits he lost when he moved his cattle to other states. North Texas rancher Mandy Dauses has taken a full-time job to cope with thinner profit margins.

  • Air Force admits nuke flaws, but will fixes work?

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Faced with one of its biggest challenges in years — repairing a troubled nuclear missile corps — the Air Force has taken an important first step by admitting, after years of denial, that its problems run deep and wide. Less certain is whether it will find all the right fixes, apply them fully and convince a doubting force of launch officers, security guards and other nuclear workers that their small and narrow career field is not a dead end. The stakes are huge. The nation's strategy for deterring nuclear war rests in part on the 450 Minuteman 3 missiles that stand ready, 24/7, to launch at a moment's notice from underground silos in five states.

  • Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    MIAMI (AP) — One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action. It's a prospect welcomed by Cubans desperate for economic growth yet deeply concerning for environmentalists and the tourism industry in the region. But a Cuban oil boom is unlikely anytime soon even if restrictions on U.S. businesses are relaxed because of low oil prices and far better drilling opportunities elsewhere. "(Cuba) is not going to be the place where operators come rolling in," says Bob Fryklund, chief strategist for oil and gas exploration and production at the analysis firm IHS.

  • Ruble crisis threatens Kontinental Hockey League

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    MOSCOW (AP) — The Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League saw itself as the oil-rich rival to the NHL, offering a tempting, if less prestigious, alternative to playing in North America. As the league planned to expand as far as Britain, the money on offer even attracted Russian stars like Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov, who walked out on lucrative NHL deals to return home. Then came the crash of the ruble this week. The financial crisis has threatened the plans of players like former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Curtis Sanford, who came to Russia to save for his retirement. "It's just really happened all of a sudden," the 35-year-old Sanford told The Associated Press. "These are some things that you don't e