• Blackout hits parts of capital, western Venezuela

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's government says parts of the capital and seven western states were left without electricity after two generating plants had technical problems. The blackout began at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Caracas and lasted about an hour. It caused traffic jams in parts of the capital as street lights stopped working and office buildings were evacuated, causing hundreds of people to walk in the middle of streets because sidewalks were overflowing. Electrical Energy Minister Jesse Chacon said frequency fluctuations caused problems in "two large generating machines" in the Andean region. He said seven of Venezuela's 23 states were affected. The socialist country suffered major blackouts in 2012 and

  • Prices at the pump head below $3 in much of US

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — The price of a gallon of gasoline may soon start with a "2'' across much the country. Gasoline prices typically decline in autumn, and this year they are being pulled even lower by falling global oil prices. By the end of the year, up to 30 states could have an average gasoline price of less than $3 a gallon. The average in Springfield, Missouri, is already below $3, according to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service and GasBuddy.com. Several other cities are on the brink. "And there will be more, many more," Kloza said. Cities in high-priced states such as California and New York will not be among them, though, which will probably keep the national average above $3. A

  • Landrieu highlighting opposition to sanctions bill

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu visited a Citgo refinery in southwestern Louisiana on Thursday to highlight her success in stalling a bill to impose sanctions against human-rights abusers in Venezuela's government. While the Democratic senator has been criticized as siding with Venezuelan leaders who have committed horrific abuses, she says she's protecting 2,000 Louisiana jobs at the refinery, which imports oil from the country. She toured the refinery in Sulphur, near Lake Charles, using the event to highlight her support for the oil and gas industry, a centerpiece of her re-election campaign. The Republican mayor of Sulphur was with her as she met with employees and managers of the facility.

  • Prices at the pump head below $3 in much of US

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — The price of a gallon of gasoline may soon start with a "2'' across much the country. Gasoline prices typically decline in autumn, and this year they are being pulled even lower by falling global oil prices. By the end of the year, up to 30 states could have an average gasoline price of less than $3 a gallon. The average in Springfield, Missouri, is already below $3, according to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service and GasBuddy.com. Several other cities are on the brink. "And there will be more, many more," Kloza said. Cities in high-priced states such as California and New York will not be among them, though, which will probably keep the national average above $3. A

  • At a glance: Gasoline prices by state

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    The usual autumn decline of the price of gasoline is getting an assist from lower global oil prices. Up to 30 states could see an average price below $3 a gallon by the end of the year.

  • Colorado fracking panel meets for first time

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    DENVER (AP) — Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday told a group he assembled to study land-use clashes between Colorado's energy industry and homeowners that he's hopeful the suggestions they give state lawmakers can be a model for other places grappling with the issue. The 21-member panel was part of a deal Hickenlooper brokered to get groups to drop dueling ballot measures in November that had Democrats worried about inter-party fighting and the energy industry concerned about future development. U.S. Rep.

  • Clarification: Solar Farm story

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — In a Sept. 23 story, The Associated Press reported that a Geronimo Energy spokeswoman said the company was working on an agreement to sell power from a proposed solar farm near Sioux Falls to Xcel Energy. Geronimo says it has applied to sell energy through Xcel's area distribution network. A corrected version of the story is below: Proposed Sioux Falls solar farm worries neighbors Minnesota company's proposed $25 million solar farm in South Dakota worries neighbors SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County planners have approved a permit for a proposed $25 million solar farm on the outskirts of South Dakota's largest city.

  • Skechers and Apple are big market movers

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: NYSE Skechers USA Inc., up $1.65 to $54.05 The footwear retailer released a statement challenging the negative conclusion of an outside sales report as misleading. BP PLC, down $1.45 to $44.06 A judge ruled that the oil giant must stand by an agreement with companies it compensated following the 2010 Gulf oil spill. Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., up 54 cents to $6 The oil and gas exploration and production company reported positive production volumes at West Virginia and Ohio locations. H.B. Fuller Co., down $6.30 to $37.

  • UConn's Gampel Pavilion to get new lighting

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The bright lights shining on UConn's national champion basketball programs will become more energy efficient and versatile. The school's Board of Trustees this week approved a plan to spend $546,000 to replace the lighting system inside Gampel Pavilion with one that uses energy-efficient LED lights. The long-lasting bulbs will reduce energy consumption by about 75 percent and maintenance costs by about 80 percent because they won't have to be changed for about 10 years, said Stanley Nolan, director of Utility Services & Energy Management. The system will replace 216 lamps that use 995,000-kilowatt hours of electricity a year with 100 LED lamps that can provide the same amount of light.

  • Mexican cartels steal billions from oil industry

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    CIUDAD MIER, Mexico (AP) — Mexico overcame 75 years of nationalist pride to reform its flagging, state-owned oil industry. But as it prepares to develop rich shale fields along the Gulf Coast, and attract foreign investors, another challenge awaits: taming the brutal drug cartels that rule the region and are stealing billions of dollars' worth of oil from pipelines. Figures released by Petroleos Mexicanos last week show the gangs are becoming more prolific and sophisticated. So far this year, thieves across Mexico have drilled 2,481 illegal taps into state-owned pipelines, up more than one-third from the same period of 2013. Pemex estimates it's lost some 7.5 million barrels worth $1.15 billion. Pemex director Emilio Lozoya

  • Syria airstrikes by the numbers

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    The U.S. and Arab allies conducted airstrikes against 12 oil refineries that were controlled by Islamic State militants in Syria. The Pentagon said damage assessments are ongoing but that the refineries are not operable. Infrastructure, housing, command and control facilities were destroyed; some capabilities at the refineries there were preserved for future use once they are no longer controlled by the militant group. How the assault broke down, by the numbers: Who: Along with the U.S., two allies, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates What: 6 U.S. fighter aircraft, 10 Saudi and UAE aircraft Target: 12 locations, modular oil refineries How Much: 41 precision-guided bombs dropped; 18 by the U.S., 23 by

  • Chicago says coal-storage site will shut down

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    CHICAGO (AP) — A company embroiled for the past year in legal skirmishes over piles of petroleum coke and coal products on Chicago's southeast side will close its facility and pay a $50,000 fine for violating a cease-and-desist order, city officials said Thursday. Indiana-based Beemsterboer Slag Corp. has removed mounds of metallurgical coke and coal products being stored without permits along the Calumet River, withdrawn applications for state permits to store petcoke and is trying to sell the property, the city said in a news release. Company President Alan Beemsterboer did not immediately return a phone message Thursday.

  • Magnum Hunter shares jump on positive results

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. jumped more than 10 percent Thursday after the oil and gas producer released positive results at its oil wells and pipelines. The Houston company said late Wednesday that a well in West Virginia was put into production over the weekend, producing as much as 46.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. On Thursday, Magnum Hunter said it expects the amount of natural gas flowing through a pipeline operated by subsidiary Eureka Hunter to increase by the end of the year. The pipeline system is in West Virginia and Ohio where production of natural gas has increased. Shares of Magnum Hunter rose 55 cents, or 10.2 percent, to $6.01 in midday trading Thursday.

  • Global solar flight to start, end in Abu Dhabi

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Swiss-made solar-powered aircraft will start and attempt to finish its first round-the-world flight from the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi, a government-backed renewable energy company in the oil-rich Gulf federation said Thursday. The choice of Abu Dhabi as the launch site for the historic journey is likely to bolster the wealthy emirate's efforts to position itself as a champion of renewable energy. It controls the bulk of the vast petroleum reserves in the Emirates, a seven-state federation that ranks among the largest oil exporters in OPEC. Masdar, the Abu Dhabi government's clean-energy company, said the Solar Impulse 2 plane will attempt its historic journey in March.

  • Gas prices in Texas, nationwide down 2 cents

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    IRVING, Texas (AP) — Retail gasoline prices have slipped 2 cents this week in Texas and nationwide. AAA Texas on Thursday reported prices at the pump statewide settled at $3.15 per gallon. Gas prices across the U.S. averaged $3.34 per gallon. The association's weekly survey found El Paso has the most expensive gasoline in Texas, at $3.19 per gallon. Beaumont drivers have the cheapest gasoline at $3.09 per gallon. AAA officials note gasoline prices have declined this month amid decreased demand, cheaper crude oil and the cost savings associated with producing winter-blend fuel.

  • Group delivers 'clean energy' petition to PRC

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A group of Latino environmentalists is delivering more than 6,000 petition signatures to the state Public Regulation Commission that call for more renewable energy. Juntos New Mexico was launched earlier this year by Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund. Organizers have spent months going door-to-door to collect the signatures. The petition calls for electricity to be generated in a way that won't pollute New Mexico's air and water. The commission is considering a proposal by the state's largest electricity provider, PNM, to shutter two units at the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico.

  • Gas drilling public health risks get an airing

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    OAKLAND, Md. (AP) — Garrett County residents are getting a chance to hear about the potential public health risks of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in their region. The local health department is hosting a presentation Thursday night on a study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Public Health. The study was first presented last month to a state commission that will recommend rules for safe drilling in Maryland's portion of the Marcellus shale formation. The study found a high likelihood that shale gas production would negatively affect air quality in the region.

  • Renewable energy plan hinges on huge Utah caverns

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A proposal to export twice as much Wyoming wind power to Los Angeles as the amount of electricity generated by the Hoover Dam includes an engineering feat even more massive than that famous structure: Four chambers, each approaching the size of the Empire State Building, would be carved from an underground salt deposit to hold huge volumes of compressed air. The caverns in central Utah would serve as a kind of massive battery on a scale never before seen, helping to overcome the fact that — even in Wyoming — wind doesn't blow all the time. Air would be pumped into the caverns when power demand is low and wind is high, typically at night.

  • Bids to frack under Ohio River in WVa due Thursday

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A deadline to bid on the right to drill for oil and natural gas under parts of the Ohio River is approaching. Sealed bids are due Thursday afternoon for drilling rights on state-owned land under 22 miles of the river. The sections are in Pleasants, Marshall and Wetzel counties. Eight West Virginia and Ohio groups have sent Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin a letter opposing the idea. Some include the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Concerned Citizens Ohio, West Virginia Sierra Club chapter and FreshWater Accountability Project. They are concerned the state won't sufficiently safeguard against releases that could harm water supplies. The state will require a minimum 20 percent or one-fifth of oi

  • Developer withdraw plans for power plant

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    OAKWOOD HILLS, Ill. (AP) — The developers of a plan to build a gas-fired power plant in the northern Illinois village of Oakwood Hills have withdrawn their proposal, ending a project that drew strong opposition by residents, officials said Wednesday. Enventure Partners and Northland Power, a Canadian company, were hoping to build a 430-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant that would supply electricity to 160,000 households. The developer's decision not to build came after the resignations of Village President Melanie Funk, Village Attorney John Cowlin and Trustee Beth Gorr. Village officials were unavailable for comment on the developers' decision.