The Obama administration on Friday imposed a new air quality standard that reduces by 20 percent the maximum amount of soot released into the air from smokestacks, diesel trucks and other sources of pollution in its first major regulation since the election. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the new standard will save thousands of lives each year as people "benefit from the simple fact of being able to breathe cleaner air."
Ford said Friday that it's talking to the government about the fuel economy of its hybrid cars after a report suggested they're falling short of targets. Consumer Reports said last week that Ford's new C-Max hybrid didn't meet the published fuel economy of 47 miles per gallon, averaging 38 miles per gallon in the magazine's testing.
A federal judge ruled Friday that his court has jurisdiction to apply the U.S. Superfund law to a Canadian company that acknowledges polluting Lake Roosevelt in Washington state. U.S. District Judge Lonny Suko of Yakima ruled against Teck Metals Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia, in a long-running case involving pollution of the lake in northeastern Washington. Cleanup has been estimated to cost up to $1B.
The European Union has approved a common patent system to cut red tape and streamline patent procedures across much of Europe. The European Parliament on Tuesday concluded the drawn-out decision-making process, backing a cluster of packages by a wide majority to end nearly four decades of fighting and negotiating over the issue.
After years of battling each other on trade issues, U.S. and European officials are contemplating a dramatic change in direction: joining together in what could be the world's largest free trade pact in an attempt to boost their struggling economies.
A conservative Iranian news website says the number of manufacturing companies in the country facing financial crisis has increased four-fold over the past four years to nearly 1,600. The Monday report by tasnimnews.com reflects the impact of Western sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program. The website says the report has been drawn up by a government department but didn't elaborate.
Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a decree that bans some industrial workers from leaving their jobs, threatening them with draconian fines if they do. Lukashenko's decree, signed Friday, follows a statement he made a week ago on a visit to a wood-processing plant. It's intended to stem the exodus of workers to neighboring Russia, where salaries are higher.
Oregon's stalled effort to reduce greenhouse gases from cars and trucks could get new life soon, as the state pushes for a new pollution-reporting mandate for fuel providers and the Legislature prepares to take a fresh look at the program.
A former General Motors engineer with access to the automaker's hybrid technology was convicted Friday along with her husband of stealing trade secrets for possible use in China. Shanshan Du won a transfer within GM in 2003 to be closer to the technology and then copied documents until she accepted a severance offer and left the company in 2005, prosecutors said.
Government attorneys say failed battery maker A123 Systems Inc. needs the government's consent in order to sell its assets. The Justice Department told a Delaware bankruptcy judge Tuesday that any sale of A123's assets must protect the government's interests. The Department of Energy gave the Waltham, Mass., company a $249 million grant three years ago.
The Obama administration put a temporary stop to new federal contracts with British oil company BP on Wednesday, citing the company's "lack of business integrity" and criminal proceedings stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.
Nokia Corp. said Wednesday that it is suing Research In Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, for breach of contract in Britain, the United States and Canada over cellular patents the two companies agreed on nine years ago. The struggling Finnish cellphone maker agreed with RIM in 2003 on a license that covers patents on "standards-essential" technologies for mobile devices.
The Obama administration declined Tuesday to label China a currency manipulator, noting that it has let the yuan rise nearly 10 percent in value against the dollar since June 2010. Despite its decision, the administration said the yuan remains "significantly undervalued," and it urged China to make further progress.
The U.S. Department of Labor cited a chemical manufacturing company in northwest Georgia for 20 safety violations, and proposes the company pay a $77,000 fine. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Monday that MFG Chemical Inc. exposed workers to fire and explosion hazards, among other safety infractions.
Swedish wireless equipment maker LM Ericsson has filed a lawsuit in the United States against Samsung Electronics Co. for infringing its patents, saying two years of negotiations to strike a deal with the South Korean company have been unsuccessful. Ericsson says the lawsuit concerns technology it has developed that is "essential to several telecommunications and networking standards" in Samsung's products.
A Delaware bankruptcy judge on Tuesday approved a request by failed steelmaker RG Steel to pay $767,000 under a retention program to keep about 20 key employees on the job through the end of the year as the company finishes liquidating its assets.
The largest environmental disaster in U.S. history came to reckoning Thursday, as British oil giant BP announced it was paying $4.5 billion in a settlement with the federal government over the 2010 Gulf oil spill disaster and two employees were charged with manslaughter over the 11 workers killed. The settlement was the "largest total criminal resolution in the history of the United States," Attorney General Eric Holder said.
Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it has agreed to settle a lawsuit with U.S. investors over massive recalls of its vehicles from late 2009 to 2010 due to acceleration problems, which caused its shares to plummet. The automaker will pay $25.5 million (about 2 billion yen) to settle the class action lawsuit, according to U.S. media reports.
California's largest business group filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the validity of the state's cap-and-trade program on the eve of the first pollution permit auction. The California Chamber of Commerce's lawsuit filed in Sacramento Superior Court was not expected to stop Wednesday's planned cap-and-trade auction. The group was not seeking an injunction to halt the program immediately, said Denise Davis, a chamber spokeswoman.
Attorneys for thousands of Gulf Coast property owners urged a federal judge Tuesday to give his final approval to a proposed class-action settlement that calls for a Chinese drywall manufacturer to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to repair homes damaged by its product.
Olympus Corp. says nearly 50 shareholders have filed a suit seeking 19.1 billion yen ($240 million) in compensation for their investment losses stemming from a massive accounting scandal. The Japanese camera and medical equipment maker said Tuesday that 48 mostly foreign institutional investors and pension funds filed the suit in Tokyo District Court in June.
Trina Solar Ltd. lowered its third-quarter guidance on Monday, citing industry-wide oversupply and lower prices. The Chinese solar panel maker estimates shipments in the third quarter between 375 and 385 megawatts, down from previous guidance of 450 to 480 megawatts. The company said margins were squeezed by anti-dumping duties in the U.S. and an inventory write-down.
The Chinese government will require that future industrial projects include assessments of their risk to social stability, following several large protests around the country over pollution, a top official said Monday. The government will also increase transparency and public involvement in decisions regarding large projects with potential environmental impact, Minister for Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian said.
A judge ruled that bankruptcy proceedings for A123 Systems can move forward after the advanced battery maker reduced the fee that would have to be paid to the lead bidder for its assets should the deal fall apart. Creditors had been concerned that other bidders were being frozen out because of bid protections that could be claimed by Milwaukee-based auto-parts maker Johnson Controls, the lead bidder.
Several aspects of industrial safety standards are changing and require constant monitoring and a bit of common sense to keep current. Technological advances and alternative guarding methods are being devised every day, and companies should be doing everything within their power to eliminate the opportunity. A great place to start is by conducting thorough Risk Assessments and referencing current standards and regulations.