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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.

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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.

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. 

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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

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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.

Trade Dispute Threatens WA Industry

August 19, 2013 2:48 pm | by Amy Martinez, The Seattle Times | News | Comments

REC Silicon, with 500 workers in this Central Washington town, annually produces enough solar-grade polysilicon to power more than 2 million homes. But a global trade battle over solar panels threatens to plunge REC and its local workforce into financial crisis.

Japan Steelmaker To Pay Wartime Compensation

August 19, 2013 10:21 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. will comply if South Korea's Supreme Court upholds a ruling ordering the Japanese firm to pay 400 million won, or around 35 million yen, to four former South Korean workers as reparation for wartime forced labor, company sources said Sunday.

Judge Won't Fast-Track Icahn Claim Against Dell

August 19, 2013 10:19 am | by Randall Chase, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

A state judge on Friday dealt a blow to activist investor Carl Icahn's effort to stop CEO and founder Michael Dell's $24.8 billion buyout offer for the struggling computer maker. He refused to fast-track proceedings on Icahn's claims that Dell Inc. directors have betrayed their duties to shareholders in trying to win support for Michael Dell's bid.

5 Quick Questions With SC Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt

August 19, 2013 8:01 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director | Articles | Comments

According to recent figures from the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the state’s GDP growth rate of 2.7 percent puts it just above the 2.5 percent national average, and is significantly out-pacing the 2.1 percent average of the southeastern region of the country. Much of this growth is attributed to manufacturing.

Court Reinstates Job Retaliation Lawsuit

August 15, 2013 3:02 pm | by Brett Barrouquere, Associated Press | News | Comments

A federal appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit by a Kentucky man who claims he was passed over for a job overseeing waste disposal from a nuclear plant because he is a whistleblower. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday ordered a federal judge to determine whether executives with EnergySolutions Inc. learned of Gary Vander Boegh's whistleblowing before bypassing him for the landfill manager's job.

Brazilian State Of Sao Paulo To Sue Siemens

August 15, 2013 1:52 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo plans to file a lawsuit against German engineering giant Siemens AG to recover funds lost to an alleged price-fixing cartel involved in the construction and upkeep of the subway and train systems of the cities of Sao Paulo and Brasilia. The state government said in a statement posted on its website Tuesday night that Siemens told Brazil's antitrust agency, CADE, of the existence of the cartel in May.

IN Justice Won't Withdraw From Power Plant Case

August 15, 2013 12:17 pm | by Rick Callahan, Associated Press | News | Comments

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa said Wednesday he won't withdraw from a case involving a proposed $2.8 billion coal-gasification plant, rejecting arguments that his longtime friendship with a representative of the plant's developers would leave him unable to be impartial in that case.

Fracking Fight Hits England

August 15, 2013 8:03 am | by CNN Money | Videos | Comments

Areas in the North of England are being prepped for the controversial process of freeing fossil fuels from shale rock (or "fracking"), and residents in these rural farming communities are expressing worry about how the drilling plans will impact their communities and their livelihood.

Attorney Blasts Firing From BP Settlement Program

August 14, 2013 2:06 pm | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

An attorney who was fired by the court-supervised administrator of BP's settlement with Gulf Coast businesses and residents is demanding to be reinstated with back pay. In a letter to claims administrator Patrick Juneau last Friday, Christine Reitano's lawyer said her contract for working on the settlement program was "wrongfully and improperly" terminated.

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