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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

FTC Clears Honeywell Acquisition, With Conditions

September 16, 2013 2:08 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission cleared Honeywell International Inc.'s acquisition of Intermec Inc. on Friday, on one condition. Honeywell will have to license the patents needed to make two-dimensional bar code scanners to Italian rival Datalogic for 12 years. The FTC said that licensing the patents will resolve its charges that Honeywell's acquisition of Intermec is anticompetitive. 

TX Law Gets Tough On Public, Private Drone Use

September 16, 2013 10:05 am | by Will Weissert, Associated Press | News | Comments

More than 40 state legislatures have debated the increasing presence of unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace, with most of the proposals focused on protecting people from overly intrusive surveillance by law enforcement. But Texas' law tips the scales in police favor — giving them broad freedoms to use drones during investigations and allowing them to bypass a required search warrant if they have suspicions of illegal activity.

Post To Pay $2M For Violations At CA Cereal Plant

September 16, 2013 10:01 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A Central California cereal plant will have to spend more than $2 million for violating federal air quality rules. The Environmental Protection Agency says Friday that Post Holdings Inc. and Ralcorp Holdings Inc. will pay a $635,000 penalty for failing to install air pollution controls at its cereal plant in Modesto.

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Obama To Meet With Union Leaders On Health Care

September 13, 2013 2:15 pm | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama is meeting with union leaders at the White House to discuss labor's growing concerns about the new health care law. Friday's meeting comes after the AFL-CIO approved a resolution this week saying the law could drive up the cost of union-sponsored health plans, encouraging some employers to drop coverage.

BP Seeks Cuts In Settlement Program's Budget

September 13, 2013 10:11 am | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

BP has urged a federal judge to reject a $111 million budget request by the court-supervised administrator of the company's multibillion-dollar settlement with Gulf Coast businesses and residents following its 2010 Gulf oil spill. In a court filing, BP attorneys said claims administrator Patrick Juneau refused to cut his office's fourth-quarter budget request by at least $25.5 million after the company complained that it was excessive.

Ford Wins OH Retrial On Truck Dealer Discounts

September 13, 2013 10:07 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A jury in Cleveland has rejected a claim by commercial truck dealers that Ford Motor Co. overcharged them over an 11-year period by offering discounts to other dealerships. The jury returned the verdict Wednesday in the class-action lawsuit filed by Westgate Ford Truck Sales of Youngstown in 2002.

Japanese Executive Charged With Price Fixing

September 12, 2013 2:03 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

An executive with G.S. Electech has been charged with conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices for automobile antilock brake parts installed in American cars. A federal grand jury in Covington, Ky., on Wednesday indicted Shingo Okuda, who is accused of agreeing to coordinate bids and fix prices of automotive parts submitted to Toyota.

MI Battery Factory Closes For 6 Weeks

September 9, 2013 2:19 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A Michigan factory that makes lithium-ion batteries for General Motors is halting production for up to six weeks because of a controversy over a chemical. LG Chem spokesman Jeremy Hagemeyer says a chemical used to make batteries may not be registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He declined to name it.

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BP, Feds Offer Dueling Gulf Spill Estimates

September 6, 2013 2:22 pm | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

With a high-stakes trial set to resume in less than a month, BP and the federal government on Thursday offered conflicting estimates of how much oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after the blowout of the company's Macondo well triggered a deadly explosion.

Lawmakers Encourage Drivers To Buy Clean Vehicles

September 5, 2013 2:34 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

California's Senate has approved two bills designed to encourage motorists to buy low-polluting vehicles. Both extend existing programs that allow solo drivers to use carpool lanes as an incentive. B286 by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco passed the Senate Wednesday on a 30-8 vote.

Ex-NASA Engineer Gets Probation In Software Piracy

September 5, 2013 2:31 pm | by Randall Chase, Associated Press | News | Comments

A former NASA engineer who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in a copyright infringement scheme led by two Chinese nationals was sentenced to probation. U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark credited Cosburn Wedderburn, 40, for his substantial assistance to federal authorities investigating the website called "Crack 99," which sold pirated, industrial-level software in which the access control mechanisms had been "cracked," or circumvented.

Court Asked To Uphold BP Settlement Approval

September 4, 2013 2:17 pm | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

Plaintiffs' attorneys who brokered a multibillion-dollar settlement with BP following the company's 2010 Gulf oil spill have asked a federal appeals court to uphold a judge's approval of the deal. Only a "paltry few objectors" have raised the "narrowest of concerns" about the settlement that U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier approved in December 2012, private lawyers said in a filing.

NC Mattress Manufacturer Facing Federal Lawsuit

September 4, 2013 10:15 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A family owned mattress manufacturer in Thomasville is facing a federal lawsuit, saying the company subjected black employees to a racially hostile work environment. The lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Aug. 28 against Carolina Mattress Guild Inc. The EEOC wants a jury trial.

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Nordex To Repay $2.5M To AR After Layoffs

September 3, 2013 10:13 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Nordex USA Inc. is repaying more than $2.5 million it received in incentives after announcing it would halt production on its wind turbine plant in Jonesboro and lay off 40 workers. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission announced Friday that the company would repay $2.31 million to the state and $204,814 to Jonesboro that it had received for the wind turbine plant. 

MD Police Raid Turns Up Fake Apple Products

August 29, 2013 2:30 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Maryland State Police say raids at Arundel Mills Mall turned up hundreds of counterfeit Apple products for sale at a store and kiosk. Police say troopers served search warrants at the Cyberion store and the ST Tech Pros kiosk last week and found hundreds of counterfeit Apple Inc. products being sold as authentic factory replacements. 

Decision On Site For Big Fertilizer Plant Delayed

August 29, 2013 12:45 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The company planning to build a new $1.2 billion fertilizer plant in either Iowa or Illinois is delaying a decision on the location. David Lundy is a spokesman for Cronus Chemical LLC. He told The Associated Press Thursday that the company has pushed its decision back "several weeks" over engineering issues and how those issues affect building costs.

Labor Rules To Boost Employment For Vets, Disabled

August 28, 2013 10:09 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press | News | Comments

Veterans and disabled workers who often struggle to find work could have an easier time landing a job under new federal regulations. The rules will require most government contractors to set a goal of having disabled workers make up 7 percent of their employees. 

Safety Vs. Enforcement: Agencies At Odds Over Probe

August 27, 2013 2:29 pm | by Pete Yost, Associated Press | News | Comments

The federal government is fighting with itself over a massive fire at a Chevron refinery in California that sent 15,000 people to hospitals with respiratory ailments. In one corner is the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. In the other is the EPA.

Poor Supervision Cited At NY-Run Steam Plant

August 27, 2013 10:18 am | by Michael Virtanen, Associated Press | News | Comments

Poor supervision at the steam plant serving the state government complex in Albany led to misbehavior by workers that included watching "Dancing With the Stars," being drunk on the job, and leaving bedrolls and beer cans in the facility, New York's inspector general reported Monday.

Fire Marshal: Inspections Refused Since TX Blast

August 27, 2013 10:15 am | by Paul J. Weber, Associated Press | News | Comments

Five facilities in Texas with large quantities of the same fertilizer chemical that fueled the deadly plant explosion in West have turned away state fire marshal inspectors since the blast, investigators said Monday. A railway operator that hauls hazardous materials across Texas was also said to have rebuffed a state request to share data since the April explosion at West Fertilizer Co. that killed 15 people and injured 200 others.

Probe Doesn't Find Fraud At BP Spill Claims Office

August 26, 2013 2:18 pm | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

The head of security for the administrator of BP's multibillion-dollar settlement with Gulf Coast residents and businesses says an internal probe of alleged misconduct by an employee of a Mobile, Ala. claims center hasn't turned up any evidence of fraud.

Toyota Canada Settles Recall Claims

August 23, 2013 2:00 pm | by The Canadian Press | News | Comments

Toyota Canada says it has agreed to settle consumer claims related to losses stemming from its recalls in 2009 and 2010. About 14,500 Lexus RX350 and RX450h models from the 2010 model year were recalled because of suspected throttle control problems

Prosecutors Ask Out Of Ex-BP Engineer's Case

August 23, 2013 10:07 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Three Justice Department prosecutors have asked to withdraw from the case against a former BP engineer charged with deleting text messages about the company's response to its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A Justice Department spokesman said Wednesday's request to withdraw Derek Cohen, Avi Gesser and Scott Cullen from the prosecution of Kurt Mix was a "staffing adjustment" that shouldn't affect trial preparations.

Judge Approves Kodak Plan To Exit Bankruptcy

August 21, 2013 10:05 am | by Bree Fowler, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Kodak doesn't look a whole lot like it did when it filed for bankruptcy protection last year, but its executives and investors are hoping for a picture-perfect future. Many of its products and services are gone, including the camera-making business that made it famous more than a century ago. Also gone are scores of workers, manufacturing facilities, supply contracts and millions of dollars in investments.

Sugar Company Fined For Water Quality Violation

August 20, 2013 2:28 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Federal regulators say the Amalgamated Sugar Co. has agreed to pay $7,500 for violating the Clean Water Act at its facility in Paul, Idaho. The Environmental Protection Agency announced the enforcement action Monday. EPA investigators say the company discharged stormwater without a permit last year.

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