• Trade group head: Wind subsidies may need changes

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — State tax incentives for wind energy producers were created when the industry was in its infancy and may need to be re-examined in light of lawmakers' concern over their growing cost, the head of an industry trade group told members of a Senate panel on Tuesday. The incentives have worked well over the last decade, luring 30 wind projects to 15 Oklahoma counties, providing jobs in often economically depressed rural communities and putting cash in the pockets of landowners, said Jeff Clark, executive director of the Wind Coalition. "I would argue that for the $120 million invested to date ... I think you've hit a home run," Clark told members of the Senate Finance Committee.

  • Court rejects petitions filed in pollution case

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected a challenge by environmentalists who sought a review of plans in New Mexico and other Western states that aim to reduce haze-causing pollution. A handful of environmental groups questioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to allow New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming to move forward with their plans. The groups claimed the plans, which center on a regional cap-and-trade program, didn't do enough to curb sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and other industries. A three-judge panel with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the EPA's decision in a ruling issued Tuesday.

  • FairPoint accuses striking workers of intimidation

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    A nor'easter that arrived Tuesday could deliver the first major test for replacement workers hired by FairPoint Communications in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, with driving rain and strong wind gusts possibly causing service disruptions as more than 1,700 workers remain on strike. The company, meanwhile, accused striking workers of intimidating contractors and employees and said an automated phone-jamming effort attempted to disrupt its call centers. Charlotte, North Carolina-based FairPoint Communications Inc., which offers Internet, telephone and other services, said it sent a letter to the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, asking them to stop members from engaging in

  • Legal petition seeks NY ban on outdated rail cars

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A coalition of environmental groups and city residents filed a legal petition on Tuesday seeking a ban on older model rail tanker cars carrying volatile crude oil from North Dakota to the Port of Albany, citing their history of rupturing and exploding in a series of catastrophic derailments. The petition, filed by a group represented by Earthjustice, asks Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens to issue an order prohibiting receipt and storage of crude in DOT-111 tank cars at the port, which has become a hub for rail shipments of North Dakota's Bakken crude bound for coastal refineries.

  • US oversight increased at Millstone nuclear plant

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is stepping up oversight at Connecticut's nuclear plant following a safety violation, the federal agency said Tuesday. The Millstone Power Station in Waterford was cited for failure to address repetitive problems with a pump that is part of a backup safety system. The pump, which could be used to help cool the reactor in the event of an emergency shutdown, was found to have been operated improperly from May 2013 through February of this year. "What concerns the NRC is that despite repeated efforts to repair this important component, the problems persisted and called into the question the pump's past reliability," said David Lew, the NRC's acting regional administrato

  • W.Va. coal mine company lays off 130 workers

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    ALUM CREEK, W.Va. (AP) — After warning in August that hundreds of miners could lose their jobs, Boone County-based Coal River Energy has laid off 130 mine workers. Coal River Energy spokesman James "Skeets" Loving confirmed the layoffs Tuesday. In August, the company warned that 280 mine workers could be out of jobs. Loving said the company laid off 130 employees on Oct. 11, while keeping 94 workers and finding other work for 56 others. The affected mining areas are located near the border of Boone and Kanawha counties. Some are underground and some are surface mines. The company pointed to poor coal markets and federal regulations.

  • High pollution levels found near Ohio gas wells

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    CLEVELAND (AP) — A study in a rural Ohio county where oil and gas drilling is booming found air pollution levels near well sites higher than those in downtown Chicago. A team from the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University placed 25 monitors as close as one-tenth of a mile from gas wells in Carroll County, about 100 miles south of Cleveland. The monitoring occurred over a three-week period in February. The monitors detected 32 types of hydrocarbon-based compounds, some of which are found in vehicle exhaust, tobacco smoke and are produced when materials are burned. The researchers would not discuss the specifics of their findings. They plan additional monitoring to produce more precise measurements that a

  • Private sector meteorology sees boost from energy companies

    Published: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    When it comes to guessing the weather, energy companies are throwing less caution to the wind. Analysts and experts say energy companies are increasingly seeking out private firms to provide weather prediction models to inform their decision-making, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The nation’s energy companies are among the major companies for the private sector meteorology industry, which could grow to $1.8 billion by 2020, according to a recent report from Dallas market research firm Markets and Markets. “Weather has become now the primary driver for commodity prices in energy,” said Paul Corby, senior vice president of energy for Planalytics, a Berwyn, Pa.-based firm in its third decade of providing “business weather intelligence” tailored to clients’ market needs and the commodities they sell. “It has an impact on

  • Total CEO killed in Moscow runway crash

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    MOSCOW (AP) — Christophe de Margerie, the charismatic CEO of Total SA who helped establish the multinational oil company as one of the world's biggest, was killed at a Moscow airport when his private jet collided with a snowplow whose driver was reportedly drunk. As well as questioning the driver, Russian investigators said Tuesday they were also assessing whether any mistakes were made by air traffic controllers in the crash which also killed three French crew members. The crash occurred at 11.57 p.m. Monday local time when the French-made Dassault Falcon 50 burst into flames after hitting the snowplow during takeoff from Vnukovo airport, which is used by Russian government officials, including President Vladimir Putin, an

  • Energy Department officially retakes Paducah plant

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy has officially retaken control of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant as decontamination and decommissioning work continues at the western Kentucky site. United States Enrichment Corporation turned over control of the 750-acre uranium enrichment complex Tuesday morning. USEC had leased the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant from DOE since it was privatized by the federal government in 1998 and enriched uranium for the global nuclear fuel market until May 2013. DOE has responsibility for the decontamination and decommissioning of the 60-year old complex and has contracted with Fluor Federal Services, Inc. to begin deactivation activities at the site.

  • Slovakia bans exports of drinking water

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — The Slovak Parliament has voted to approve a constitutional amendment that bans exports of water from Slovakia. Some opposition lawmakers joined the ruling leftist Smer-Social Democracy in a 102-5 vote on Tuesday to approve the move that bans exports of drinking and mineral water from Slovakia by means including pipelines and water tanks. The ban does not cover water for personal use or water in bottles. Slovakia has enough water resources but Prime Minister Rober Fico has called the ban a "sensible" step. Fico says it was necessary to impose it after attempts to build pipelines to transport water from Slovakia to neighboring Poland and Hungary.

  • Report: Plane hit power line before fatal crash

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A small airplane collided with a power line pole and unmarked transmission lines before it crashed and burned, killing the pilot and injuring a flight instructor, federal officials say in a newly released report. A witness saw the plane's landing gear barely clear a building as it flew toward Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville on Thursday, according to the preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board released Monday. As the aircraft flew toward power lines, "he observed the airplane pitch up, as if in an attempt to avoid them," the report states. "A portion of a wing contacted a power line pole, and then the airplane rolled and impacted the ground coming to rest inverted.

  • Oil CEO Dies in a Moscow Plane Crash

    Published: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    The CEO of one the world's largest oil companies died in Moscow on Monday when his plane "collided with a snow-clearing machine," according to a spokesperson for Vnukovo Airport, NBC News reports. Christophe de Margerie, whose extravagant facial hair earned him the nickname "Big Mustache," according to Bloomberg News, spent seven years in charge of Total S.A., one of the world's six so-called super-major oil companies. He was 63. "I can confirm that the passenger was Total's head de Margerie,'' Elena Krylova, the airport spokesperson, told Reuters.

  • Limerick nuclear plant unit licenses extended

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    LIMERICK, Pa. (AP) — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the operating licenses of both units at a suburban Philadelphia nuclear plant for an additional 20 years. The new licenses for the Limerick Generating Station in Montgomery County will now run until October 2044 for Unit One and until June 2049 for Unit Two. Exelon says the plant generates 2,345 megawatts of electricity, enough power for roughly two million homes. Donna and Lewis Cuthbert of the Alliance for a Clean Environment, which has fought Limerick's licensing renewal, questioned the need to renew the license when a decade or more remains on the existing license. The license renewal is the 75th issued by the commission for commercial nucle

  • TVA: Safety commitment made at Browns Ferry

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority says a commitment to safety is behind improvements at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is ending years of intensive oversight at the three-reactor generating facility following a recent inspection. TVA CEO Bill Johnson says the NRC decision is a "significant accomplishment" the federal utility's entire nuclear division. The plant set a record last year when all three units operated for more than 222 days straight. Federal regulators issued a rare red finding against Browns Ferry three years ago after investigating how a valve on a residual heat removal system became stuck shut. The finding resulted in increased oversight that's j

  • Oil and gas, livestock prices for Oct. 21

    Published: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    OIL AND GAS PRICES Oklahoma crude oil prices as of 5 p.m. Monday: Oklahoma Sweet: Sunoco Inc. — $79.25 Oklahoma Sour: Sunoco Inc. — $67.25 Oklahoma oil and gas drilling activity posted Oct. 2: COMPLETION Beckham: Chesapeake Operating, LLC; Voleta 4-10-26 No. 1H Well; NW1/4 NE1/4 NE1/4 NE1/4 (SL) of 04-10N-26W; 292 barrels oil per day, 5,252,000 cu-ft gas per day; TD 17,293. Kingfisher: Hinkle Oil & Gas Inc.; Lincoln North Unit No. 16-2H Well; N1/2 N1/2 N1/2 NW1/4 (BHL) of 29-18N-05W; 284 barrels oil per day, 201,000 cu-ft gas per day; TD 12,142. McClain: Ruffel Lance Oil & Gas, LLC; Harrison A No. 3-36 Well; S1/2 N1/2 NW1/4 SW1/4 of 36-05N-04W; 382 barrels oil per

  • Oklahoma business briefs for Oct. 21

    Published: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    Oklahoma business briefs for Oct. 21, 2014

  • Eastern Kentucky's struggles fuel Senate battle

    Updated: Mon, Oct 20, 2014

    GRAYS KNOB, Ky. (AP) — Joe Bart Watts was mining coal 3 miles in a mountain when his house burned down last summer. Over the next year, Harlan Cumberland Coal cut his hours, laid off 200 workers and he had to move in with his mother. In this sparsely populated swath of eastern Kentucky, it is voters like Watts who have become the prize in what has become a battleground area in one of the country's most watched U.S. Senate races. "This year has been the worst, I think, for coal mining for us as it's ever been," said Watts, who supports Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell. McConnell, a 30-year incumbent, has tried to tie challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to Democratic President Barack Obama and what Republicans have called

  • Asian stocks meander after China growth slows

    Updated: Mon, Oct 20, 2014

    TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets shrugged off China's weakest economic growth in five years, finding a silver lining in the fact it didn't slow as much as feared. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 0.4 percent at 1,219.29 after soaring 4 percent Monday on expectations of government pension fund buying of shares. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.6 percent at 23,215.64 and China's Shanghai Composite added 0.2 percent to 2,360.94. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 5,332.90 while Seoul's Kospi dropped 0.6 percent to 1,919.33. CHINA GROWTH: The world's second biggest economy expanded 7.3 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter, slowing from 7.5 percent in the previous quarter. Markets found solace in the

  • Total oil company CEO dies in Moscow plane crash

    Updated: Mon, Oct 20, 2014

    MOSCOW (AP) — The CEO of French oil giant Total SA was killed when his corporate jet collided with a snow removal machine Monday night at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport, the company said. Total "confirms with deep regret and sadness" that Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie died in a private plane crash at the Moscow airport, the company said in a press release dated Tuesday and posted on its website. Airport officials told Russia's Tass news agency that the collision occurred at 11:57 p.m. Monday, killing de Margerie and three crew members, all of them French citizens.