• Jurors return to deliberate in ex-coal CEO Blankenship trial

    Updated: Mon, Nov 23, 2015

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Jurors are returning to deliberate in the trial of ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. After a weekend off, the jury is slated for its fourth full day of deliberations Monday in U.S. District Court in Charleston, West Virginia. They won't deliberate Wednesday, Thursday and Friday because of Thanksgiving. Blankenship is charged with conspiring to break safety laws and defrauding mine regulators at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch Mine, and lying to financial regulators and investors about safety. The coal mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 men. Prosecutors contended that Blankenship was a micromanager who meddled in the smallest details at the mine, and cared more about money than safety.

  • Thanksgiving travelers to pay lower gas prices

    Updated: Mon, Nov 23, 2015

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — AAA Mid-Atlantic says Virginia motorists will pay the lowest Thanksgiving week gasoline prices since 2008. The auto club says the average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Virginia on Sunday was $1.92. That's down seven cents from last week and significantly below the $2.66 that state drivers were paying a year ago. The Richmond and Norfolk areas are tied for the lowest average price at $1.88, while the Charlottesville area is the highest at $1.95. The national average is $2.08, down from $2.83 a year ago and nine cents lower than last week. AAA predicts prices will continue to fall and could drop below $2 per gallon nationally by Christmas for the first time since 2009.

  • AAA Michigan: Gas prices fall 23 cents in past week to $1.94

    Updated: Mon, Nov 23, 2015

    DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have decreased by about 23 cents in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $1.94 per gallon on Sunday. That's about 94 cents less than it was at the same point last year. The lowest average price was about $1.84 per gallon in the Flint area, while the highest average was about $2.06 per gallon in the Marquette area. AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.

  • Survey: US gasoline drop 11 cents over past 2 weeks

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average price of gasoline plunged 11 cents over the past two weeks, to $2.14 a gallon. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg reports Sunday that the drop comes as crude oil prices continue to fall. Lundberg says prices may continue to go down into December. The current gas price is 70 cents per gallon under its year-ago point. In the Lower 48 states, the highest average price of regular gasoline was $2.76 per gallon in Los Angeles. The lowest was $1.79 in Indianapolis. The U.S. average diesel price is $2.50 per gallon, down about four cents from two weeks ago.

  • Voter initiatives seek higher use of renewable electricity

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A retired clergyman and an attorney want Montana voters to pass a law requiring power companies to buy and sell more renewable energy to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide — a gas tied to climate change — in the atmosphere. John Soderberg, former minister of the Bozeman United Methodist Church, and lawyer Russ Doty have submitted the ballot measure that would require investor-owned utilities to gradually increase the amount of renewable energy they purchase for retail sale. The goals would be 19 percent by 2018, 40 percent by 2025, 70 percent by 2040 and 80 percent by 2050. The federal government has proposed that Montana reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 47 percent by 2030.

  • North Dakota eyes science for oilfield brine cleanup

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An abandoned pit near the Little Missouri River is finally being cleaned up, almost 50 years after it held salty oil-drilling waste. Workers say one more heavy spring rain would have caused river erosion to eat into the pit, potentially threatening water supplies for several communities. The pit is one of only a handful of old drilling sites targeted under new state legislation that set aside $1.5 million for reclamation. The work at the old pit near Medora will use at least a third of the appropriation. Researchers at North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota are now competing to develop a method of restoring such sites without the use of expensive mechanized excavation.

  • Massachusetts committee to hold hearing on clean energy

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    BOSTON (AP) — The clean energy future of Massachusetts will be discussed this week during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. Testimony will be given by policy leaders and business executives involved in hydroelectricity, offshore wind, solar and energy efficiency. Sen. Marc Pacheco, the committee chairman, will focus on how the state plans to meet the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act. The act includes greenhouse gas reduction targets. The hearing will be held Tuesday. Testimony is by invitation only.

  • Effort to get cannabis oil to ill Missourians starts slowly

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Efforts to provide cannabis oil to some Missourians with a severe type of epilepsy are starting slowly, primarily because most neurologists in the state are unable or unwilling to certify patients to try it. The Missouri Legislature in 2014 legalized cannabis oil to treat intractable epilepsy, which can't be controlled by other medications. The state issued two licenses to grow the industrial hemp needed to extract the oil, with estimates the treatments would be ready by September. But with only 15 Missourians certified to receive the treatment, the two people who received the licenses are scaling back their plans and now hope to have CBD oil available in January.

  • Utilities see potential in drones to inspect lines, towers

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    BLENHEIM, N.Y. (AP) — U.S. utilities see great potential in the use of remote-controlled drones to do the often-dangerous work of inspecting power lines and transmission towers but strict regulations have so far slowed adoption of the technology. The remote-controlled devices make the work of linemen safer, more efficient and less expensive, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, which last month put on a three-day workshop to help nearly a dozen utilities choose the best machines for the job. Miniature helicopter-like drones, some equipped with cameras and other sensors, conducted demonstration inspections of transmission lines at a hydroelectric plant in the Catskill Mountains.

  • Despite oil bust, Texas prepares more students for oil jobs

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    HOUSTON (AP) — The oil industry is mired in its latest bust, with thousands of jobs evaporating like flares flaming out over natural gas wells. But in Texas, education officials are preparing more young people for the oil patch, showing the state's unshakeable commitment to the energy sector despite the employment uncertainties. The Houston school district is planning to expand its Energy Institute High School to around 1,000 students by 2017 and inaugurate a new 110,000 square-foot, $37 million facility. The three-year-old institute is the nation's only high school fully specializing in oil and energy careers. In the oil-rich Permian Basin, two Midland high schools have begun "petroleum academies.

  • Washington shaping new rules to guide oil transport

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — State regulators are working on new rules that will guide the transportation of crude oil across Washington state. The Department of Ecology is developing a rule that will require facilities to give the state advance weekly notice about crude oil shipments they receive. Pipelines would be required to provide biannual notice. The agency is also figuring out what type of information the state will disclose to emergency responders, local and tribal governments and the public. And it's also establishing requirements for railroad operators that haul crude oil to have oil-spill response and drill plans. The rules are part of an oil safety transportation measure state lawmakers passed earlier this year.

  • UMaine debuting ocean simulator to test sea-bound technology

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    ORONO, Maine (AP) — Builders of everything from cruise ships and ports to oil rigs offshore wind turbines are tasked with the same question — will their work will be strong enough to stand up to the sea? An miniature indoor ocean at the University of Maine could make for a lot less guessing. The school's Advanced Structures and Composites Center is ready to unveil a $13.8 million expansion that director Henry Dagher said will simulate a stormy ocean to help innovators find out if their creations can withstand the sea's fury. The indoor facility, six years in the making, will be able to simulate waves over 100 feet tall and winds of more than 200 mph on scale models to test products, Dagher said.

  • Explosions at Ukrainian towers leave Crimea without power

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    MOSCOW (AP) — Two electricity transmission towers in Ukraine were damaged by explosions, leaving most of the nearly 2 million people on the disputed Crimean Peninsula without power on Sunday, the Russian Energy Ministry said. Crimea was annexed by Russia last year but depends on Ukraine for most of its electricity supplies. Two of the four transmission towers in Kherson, Ukraine, were damaged on Friday. Ukrainian activists calling for an economic blockade of the Black Sea peninsula tried to prevent repair works on Saturday, but retreated after clashes with police. Around midnight, explosions hit the two other transmission towers, Ukrainian police said. They said it was not immediately clear who was responsible.

  • Q&A: Michigan debates increased energy-efficiency programs

    Updated: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A centerpiece of Gov. Rick Snyder's long-range energy plan derives from a simple premise — using less of it. How Michigan can best require or incentivize utilities to cut electricity and natural gas use through efficiency programs is a big issue for lawmakers looking to rewrite energy laws, potentially yet this year. The Michigan Public Service Commission reports that utility providers last year exceeded their savings targets. Legislation pending in the House would keep efficiency requirements intact for a few years but eventually transition to requiring regulators to assess the potential for increased efficiency as part of more robust long-range plans filed by utilities.

  • Eagle & Beagle for Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015

    Published: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    Don Mecoy: Eagle & Beagle is a weekly look at Oklahoma companies' high-performing (eagle) and low-performing (beagle) stocks

  • Futures File: Turkeys smaller but prices are stuffed this Thanksgiving holiday

    By Walt and Alex Breitinger For The Oklahoman | Published: Sun, Nov 22, 2015

    Walt and Alex Breitinger: On Friday, prices for natural gas delivered in December dropped to a new low price of $2.17 per million British thermal units, a fact that will warm consumers’ wallets throughout the coming winter.

  • Louisiana payroll numbers shrink, flashing recession warning

    Updated: Sat, Nov 21, 2015

    Louisiana's labor market slipped in October, as the unemployment rate rose and payroll employment fell. Payrolls fell 6,000 from September and, crucially, also dipped below last October's level. That's a warning that the state's economy may be sliding into recession. It was the first time since November 2010 that year-over-year job totals fell. Both sets of figures, adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes, were released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department. A separate survey shows the jobless rate rose to 6.2 percent in October from 6 percent into September, remaining below October 2014's 7 percent rate. The number of people reporting having a job fell for the fifth straight month, as the labor force continued shrinking.

  • Application filed for natural gas pipeline

    Updated: Sat, Nov 21, 2015

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A subsidiary of energy company Kinder Morgan Inc. has filed an application with federal regulators to build a natural gas pipeline through southern New Hampshire and western Massachusetts. The pipeline would run 70 miles through New Hampshire. The company says it hopes to start construction in January of 2017 and put the pipeline into service in November 2018. Three public information sessions on the project are planned for the first week of December. The filing on Friday follows a study released earlier in the week commissioned by the Massachusetts attorney general that concluded the New England region does not need additional natural gas pipelines to maintain a reliable flow of energy for

  • Cloudy future for solar bill as lawmakers break for holidays

    Updated: Sat, Nov 21, 2015

    BOSTON (AP) — Sunshine may be free, but the future of a key solar power bill remains cloudy on Beacon Hill. This week, House and Senate lawmakers ended their formal sessions for the year without reaching a key deal to raise caps on the state's "net metering" program that allows electric customers and local governments to sell excess solar power they generate back to the electrical grid in exchange for credit. The Senate passed legislation earlier in the year to raise the caps to help the state reach its goal of 1,600 megawatts of installed solar capacity by 2020. That's enough to power about 240,000 homes each year. House lawmakers waited until Tuesday — the second-to-last day of formal sessions — before passing t

  • Preconstruction testing begins at proposed Vermont wind farm

    Updated: Sat, Nov 21, 2015

    READSBORO, Vt. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service says preconstruction testing at the site of the proposed Deerfield wind farm in the southern Vermont towns of Readsboro and Searsburg is underway. The work testing the prospective wind turbine locations, along with areas where the access road connecting the turbines may go, will take place over the next two to three weeks. The work that involves limited tree clearing by hand and boring to collect core samples has been approved by the U.S. Forest Service, the Vermont Public Service Board, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Iberdrola ("ee-bur-DROL-ah") Renewables is planning to build 15 wind turbines - eight in Searsburg and seven in neighboring Readsboro.