• SolarCity sues SRP over new fee for rooftop solar customers

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    PHOENIX (AP) — A major player in the rooftop solar industry said Tuesday that it's suing Salt River Project for adopting new fees for homeowners who install rooftop solar panels. San Mateo, California-based SolarCity Corp. said in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix that SRP's average $50 per month fee on new solar installations would essentially eliminate the incentive to put solar panels on a home. The lawsuit calls the Arizona utility's action a violation of federal anti-trust laws because the fees keep homeowners from competing against a utility they must rely on for power during hours of darkness. "SRP has a simple strategy to destroy the competitive threat from SolarCity and other competitors: Unde

  • House bill offers smaller NC gas tax reduction than Senate

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Motorists would see a small price drop at the pump in the House version of gas tax legislation pushed through two committees Tuesday by Republicans. The decrease isn't as deep as Senate counterparts want, but both reductions eliminate an even greater cut expected this summer if lawmakers did nothing. The House finance and budget-writing committees voted separately to reduce the tax by 1.5 cents per gallon — from 37.5 cents to 36 cents — starting April 1 through the end of the year. The state would then keep using the current formula, based in part on wholesale prices, to recalculate the tax annually. Currently it's changed twice a year. The Senate proposal approved three weeks ago would cause a 2.

  • Auto industry slows for bad weather, but stays on course

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    DETROIT (AP) — February threw snowstorms and other roadblocks at the auto industry, but U.S. sales of new cars and trucks are still poised to hit their highest level in more than a decade this year. Freezing temperatures, disruptions at West Coast ports and rising gas prices took a bite out of U.S. auto sales last month. Still, most automakers reported gains, and analysts say lost sales should be made up as the weather warms in March. "We've already put February in the rear-view mirror," said Ken Cataldo, the general manager of Colonial Volkswagen of Medford, Massachusetts, who spent much of last month cleaning snow off the cars on his lot. Toyota and Subaru reported double-digit sales increases over last February, an

  • 'Cowboyistan' is key to oil boom, Hamm says

    By Adam Wilmoth, Energy Editor | Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Oklahoma wildcatter Harold Hamm on Monday touted rigs, rednecks and royalties for the success of “Cowboyistan,” which he called the driving force behind the recent domestic oil boom.

  • ND lawmakers trickle back to Capitol before recess ends

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A handful of North Dakota lawmakers began trickling in to the state Capitol on Tuesday, a day before the Legislature's five-day recess ends to get a head start on the session's second half. But most lawmakers, skittish over slumping oil prices, are in hurry-up-and-wait mode. They believe work on most major spending bills will be idled until new oil tax revenue projections are released later this month. "No real decisions are going to be made until then," said Sen. Dwight Cook, R-Mandan, chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee. When the Legislature resumes Wednesday in what's known as "crossover," Senate members will begin working on House bills, and vice versa.

  • Wisniewski slams plan to borrow for transportation needs

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — If New Jersey continues its decades-old pattern of borrowing money to fund transportation infrastructure projects, it will jeopardize its ability to do the same in the future, a legislator told a group of business leaders Tuesday. Assembly Transportation Committee chairman John Wisniewski said the state must identify a dedicated source of funding for the Transportation Trust Fund. The fund is due to run out of money in June. Last week, Gov. Chris Christie said the state can use authorized but unissued bonds to pay for road, bridge and tunnel work and repair in fiscal year 2016.

  • US running out of room to store oil; price collapse next?

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months. For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country's main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week. If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as "tank tops," by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plum

  • Highlights of Gov. Tom Wolf's first state budget proposal

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Highlights of Gov. Tom Wolf's spending plan for the budget year that starts July 1: __ THE BIG PICTURE —Increases spending through the state's main bank account by about 3 percent to $29.9 billion. Figure is $33.7 billion, a 16 percent hike, if payments to school pension fund and property tax relief earmarked for 2016-17 are also figured in. — Raises taxes by over $4 billion on income, sales, natural gas drilling, banks and tobacco. The amount of money in collections would rise to more than $5 billion once the higher tax rates are in force for a full fiscal year. — Delivers new property tax relief of $3.

  • Oil glut at a glance: Where the US stores its oil

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    A glut of crude oil has pushed the amount of crude in the U.S. to record levels. Here are the biggest crude storage fields in the U.S., and how much they can hold, according to the market data provider Genscape. Cushing, Oklahoma, 82 million barrels Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, 67 million barrels Houston, Texas, 36 million barrels Beaumont-Nederland, Texas, 30 million barrels St.

  • Groups call for Oklahoma attorney general to be more involved in $1.1 billion Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. case

    By Paul Monies, Business Writer | Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Some consumer and environmental groups are calling for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be more involved in a $1.1 billion plan by Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. for environmental compliance and for the replacement of an aging generating plant. A hearing before an administrative law judge will start Tuesday at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

  • Gov. Wolf's prepared remarks on proposed 2015-16 budget

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Remarks as prepared for delivery by Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday, outlining his proposal for Pennsylvania's 2015-16 budget. ___ Lt. Gov. Stack; Speaker Turzai; President Scarnati; Leader Corman; Leader Costa; Leader Reed; Leader Dermody; members of the General Assembly; and, above all my fellow Pennsylvanians. Also, my Mom and Dad. In January, we gathered outside in the cold as I took the oath of office. Six weeks later, I am sorry to say that it is still just as cold. So I'd like to move from something we can't control to something we can — the budget. I am grateful for the opportunity to discuss how we can ensure that Pennsylvania's future is as bright as our incredible past.

  • Natural gas suspected in explosion at commercial building

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    DETROIT (AP) — Authorities say an apparent natural gas explosion caused a blast at commercial building on Detroit's east side, injuring at least two people. Second Deputy Chief Craig Dougherty says three people were in the building at the time of the Tuesday morning explosion and two were transported from the scene by ambulance. He says one of the injured may have been blown out of the building by the explosion. The Detroit News reports authorities said at least one person was trapped following the explosion. WDIV-TV reported the trapped person was rescued. Emergency crews are on the scene. Firefighters pushed onlookers back an estimated 500 feet from the large, gray building.

  • Hungary makes nuclear deal with Russia a 30-year secret

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The details of Hungary's deal with Russia to expand its only nuclear power plant will remain secret for 30 years, after new legislation was approved Tuesday. The Hungarian legislation will keep under wraps both the business and technical details of the agreement under which Russia's Rosatom will build two new reactors at the Paks power plant The government says the measure is needed for national security reasons and is in line with similar guidelines in other European countries. The Soviet-built plant currently provides about half of Hungary's electricity. What is known of the deal is that it includes a loan from Russia of 10 billion euros ($11.1 billion) to cover an estimated 80 percent of th

  • Utility regulators to hear public on power plant proposal

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico utility regulators plan a two-part meeting Wednesday for the public to comment on Public Service Co. of New Mexico's proposal to shut down half of a coal-fired power plant near Farmington. The Public Regulation Commission scheduled afternoon and evening sessions in the Farmington council chambers on PNM's proposal to shut down two units of the San Juan Generating Station. The commission is holding a public comment period after finishing evidentiary hearings on Jan. 27 before it makes a final decision.

  • Philippines suspends oil, gas exploration in disputed waters

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government has ordered the suspension of all exploration at an offshore oil and gas field because of an ongoing territorial dispute with China, a Filipino-British company said. Oil and gas exploration company Forum Energy Plc. said the Department of Energy instructed it to halt all work in its contracted area at Reed Bank in the South China Sea off the western Philippine province of Palawan. The Energy Department issued the order because the area "falls within the territorial disputed area of the West Philippine Sea which is the subject of a United Nations arbitration process between the Republic of the Philippines and People's Republic of China," it said in a statement Monday. <

  • Energy company to give more public info on pipeline plan

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Kinder Morgan, the Texas-based energy company that has proposed a 70-mile natural gas pipeline through southern New Hampshire, is planning to conduct more public information sessions. In a letter sent last week to Kinder Morgan, the state's congressional delegation asked the company to do more public outreach beyond five meetings conducted recently in communities affected by the proposal. Richard Wheatley, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan, says there are already plans underway to conduct more open house-style meetings. Specific dates and locations will be posted on the company website. Pipeline supporters say it's needed to increase capacity in a region that pays some of the nation's highest energy c

  • Bills addressing NC gas tax, incentives undergo House debate

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina lawmakers are primed to debate what changes should be made to fiscal incentives offered companies to persuade them to build in the state. The House Finance Committee on Tuesday is scheduled to consider an economic development bill sought by Gov. Pat McCrory's administration. The original measure filed last week increases the amount available to offer companies through the state's chief incentive tool — the Job Development Investment Grant. Some lawmakers don't like JDIG or that most of the grants are for companies going to urban areas. The committee also is supposed to debate a Senate bill that would cut the gasoline tax immediately but set the stage for increases over time.

  • Global stocks limp as focus shifts back to China economy

    Updated: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    TOKYO (AP) — Global stock markets were lackluster Tuesday despite a milestone for the Nasdaq as investors looked ahead to the release of China's growth target. KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 added 0.2 percent to 4,928.49 and Germany's DAX gained 0.2 percent to 11,434.76. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.3 percent to 6,958.07. U.S. shares were set to drift lower. Dow futures inched down 0.05 percent to 18,238. S&P 500 futures were down 0.1 percent at 2,111.50. CHINA MEETING: China's ceremonial legislature starts its annual session on Thursday and is expected to announce a growth target for 2015. Last year's target was 7.5 percent, which China narrowly missed, posting growth of 7.4 percent that was the slowest in 24 years.

  • Oil and gas, livestock prices for March 3

    Published: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    OIL AND GAS PRICES Oklahoma crude oil prices as of 5 p.m. Monday: Oklahoma Sweet: Sunoco Inc. — $46 Oklahoma Sour: Sunoco Inc. — $34 Oklahoma oil and gas drilling activity posted Feb. 16: COMPLETION Beckham: Enervest Operating LLC; Juanita No. 3-30H Well; NE1/4 NW1/4 NW1/4 NW1/4 (SL) of 30-11N-26W; 344 barrels oil per day 7,849,000 cu-ft gas per day; TD 17,800. Canadian: Devon Energy Production Co. LP; Chiles 35-13N-10W No. 2H Well; N1/2 NE1/4 NE1/4 NE1/4 (SL) of 03-12N-10W; 15 barrels oil per day 3,375,000 cu-ft gas per day; TD 18,290. Devon Energy Production Co. LP; Mullen 32-15N-9W No. 1H Well; NW1/4 NW1/4 NW1/4 NW1/4 (SL) of 05-14N-09W; 272 barrels oil per day 3,673,000

  • Oklahoma billionaires' fortunes made in energy, retail

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    Harold Hamm, despite a tough 2014, still ranked as the richest man in Oklahoma, according to Forbes.