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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

FL Gov. Making Strong Push For Tax Break

April 23, 2013 10:20 am | by Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press | News | Comments

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is making personal pitches to lawmakers in pushing for a late breakthrough to exempt manufacturers from paying sales taxes on equipment purchases, one of his legislative priorities this year. The governor is meeting with lawmakers to pitch his idea of boosting Florida's manufacturing sector by giving manufacturers a blanket exemption from paying a 6 percent sales tax on equipment purchases, allies said.

Court Denies Beechcraft Challenge Of Lost Contract

April 22, 2013 2:14 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Kansas airplane maker Beechcraft has lost a legal battle to halt work on a high-stakes Air Force contract awarded to rival Sierra Nevada Corp. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims on Friday denied Beechcraft's request for a temporary injunction. The contract for 20 planes for use in Afghanistan is worth more than $427 million. It could be worth as much as $1 billion, depending on future orders.

Haliburton Seeking Settlement Over Gulf Oil Spill

April 22, 2013 2:12 pm | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

BP's cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 announced Monday that it is trying to negotiate a settlement over its role in the disaster, a focus of trial testimony that ended last week. Halliburton Chief Financial Officer Mark McCollum said during a conference call to discuss first-quarter earnings that talks were at an "advanced stage."

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FAA Approves Resumption Of Boeing 787 Flights

April 22, 2013 10:13 am | by Joan Lowy, Joshua Freed, Associated Press | News | Comments

Boeing's beleaguered 787 could be flying again within a week after federal officials approved a fix for its batteries, even though the root cause of a fire on one plane and smoke on another still isn't known. The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it would send airlines instructions and publish a notice next week lifting the 3-month-old grounding order that day.

Cement Maker Fined, To Cut Emissions At CO Plant

April 22, 2013 10:06 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A cement manufacturer in Lyons has agreed to pay a $1 million fine and to install controls to decrease its emissions of the pollutant nitrogen oxide, the U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday. The EPA had accused Cemex, Inc., which operates the Portland cement facility, of illegally modifying its Lyons plant in a way that increased the amount of nitrogen oxide the facility released.

OSHA Last Inspected TX Fertilizer Plant In 1985

April 19, 2013 10:15 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration most recently inspected the Texas fertilizer plant that exploded Wednesday night in 1985. Records reviewed by The Associated Press show that OSHA issued the West Chemical & Fertilizer Co., as the plant was called at the time, a $30 fine for a serious violation for storage of anhydrous ammonia.

White House Threatens Veto On Cybersecurity Bill

April 17, 2013 2:05 pm | by Anne Flaherty, Josh Lederman, Associated Press | News | Comments

The White House on Tuesday threatened a veto against a House bill intended to improve cybersecurity through information-sharing, warning lawmakers that the president won't sign the measure unless changes are made to protect privacy and civil liberties.

No Helmets Required For Elio Vehicle Under Bill

April 17, 2013 10:09 am | by Littice Bacon-Blood, Associated Press | News | Comments

The House Transportation Committee backed a proposal Tuesday that would pave the way for the production of a three-wheeled vehicle called the Elio by removing the requirement that occupants wear helmets. Officials with Elio Motors, located in the former General Motors plant in Shreveport, said the helmet requirement could harm sales by sending a signal to consumers that the vehicle was unsafe.

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AR Legislature Approves Steel Mill Funding

April 16, 2013 2:12 pm | by Michael Stratford, Associated Press | News | Comments

Arkansas is set to provide a new steel company with $125 million in financing and a package of tax breaks to build a mill in the northeast part of the state after the Legislature gave final approval to the plan on Tuesday. By an 81-9 vote, House lawmakers passed a Senate-approved budget bill to support Big River Steel.

EU Lawmakers Veto Tighter Cap-And-Trade System

April 16, 2013 10:16 am | by Juergen Baetz, Associated Press | News | Comments

European lawmakers dealt a blow to one of Europe's flagship policies on fighting climate change when they voted Tuesday against tightening the bloc's system of making companies pay for pollution. The European Union cap-and-trade system — the world's biggest — was introduced in 2005 in the hope of encouraging industries to reduce emissions and invest in greener technologies.

BP Manager Testifies At Trial

April 16, 2013 10:14 am | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

A BP team leader who supervised managers on the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 testified Monday that he was frustrated by last-minute changes to the drilling project, but didn't have any safety concerns before the deadly blast.

Feds: $5.5M From GM For Onondaga Lake Pollution

April 12, 2013 3:31 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Federal authorities say they've settled the last piece of claims against General Motors Co. for pollution in central New York's Onondaga Lake. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says the $5.5 million agreement was reached this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court with the trust handling the affairs of the automotive company, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2009.

U.S. Approves Japan Entry Into TPP Trade Talks

April 12, 2013 3:30 pm | by Matthew Pennington, Associated Press | News | Comments

The United States on Friday approved Japan's entry into negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a critical step for Tokyo's inclusion in a regional trade pact that underpins the Obama administration's efforts to boost exports to Asia.

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Ex-BP Engineer Responds To Feds' "Farcical" Claims

April 12, 2013 10:06 am | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

A former BP engineer charged with deleting text messages about the company's response to its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico claims federal prosecutors have tacked on "farcical" allegations that he also deleted dozens of voicemails to stymie a grand jury probe of the disaster.

Bill Seeks To Help FL Manufacturing Sector

April 11, 2013 2:13 pm | by Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press | News | Comments

A bill touted as a way to boost Florida's manufacturing sector by extending a sales tax break passed its first test in a state House panel Wednesday, overcoming scattered objections that it amounts to a giveaway without guarantees it would stimulate job growth.

Manufacturers: Tax Hikes In Budget Hurt Competitiveness

April 10, 2013 12:17 pm | by National Association of Manufacturers | News | Comments

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Dorothy Coleman issued a statement in response to the release of the President’s budget for fiscal year 2014. The statement indicates how NAM thinks the budget will influence manufacturing. 

Lawmaker Invites Gun Makers To Relocate To RI

April 9, 2013 2:13 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A Republican state lawmaker is inviting firearms manufacturers to relocate to Rhode Island from other states he says are "hostile" to gun owners' rights. House Minority Leader Brian Newberry of North Smithfield made the invitations Monday to Hartford, Conn.-based Colt's Manufacturing Co. and Beretta USA Corp. in Accokeek, Md.

Google Target Of Microsoft-Led Antitrust Complaint

April 9, 2013 2:09 pm | by Juergen Baetz | News | Comments

A group of companies led by Microsoft have called on European authorities to launch an antitrust investigation into Google and its hold over mobile internet usage on smartphones. The "FairSearch" initiative claims Google is acting unfairly by giving away its Android operating system to mobile device companies on the condition that the U.S. online giant's own software applications are prominently displayed.

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Nightmare Nearing An End

April 9, 2013 1:09 pm | by Bloomberg TV | Videos | Comments

Bloomberg's chief Washington correspondent Peter Cook reports that Boeing has tested its fix for the 787 Dreamliner battery and is set for an FAA review of the results. Friday's test flight outside of Seattle was the final certification test, according to Boeing. Cook speaks on Bloomberg Television's "In The Loop."

Judge Deals Blow To High-Tech Workers' Lawsuit

April 8, 2013 2:17 pm | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

A federal judge on Friday struck down an effort to form a class action lawsuit to go after Apple, Google and five other technology companies for allegedly forming an illegal cartel to tamp down workers' wages and prevent the loss of their best engineers during a multiyear conspiracy broken up by government regulators.

AR House Approves Steel Mill Funding

April 8, 2013 2:13 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A proposal to provide a company with $125 million in state financing to build a new steel mill in northeastern Arkansas has won approval in the state House. By a 78-17 vote, lawmakers on Monday passed legislation authorizing Arkansas to issue bonds to provide a loan and pay some construction costs of a $1.1 billion steel facility in Osceola.

Brazil: Steel Company Must Move 750 People

April 8, 2013 2:10 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The state environment minister has called on a Brazilian steel company to immediately move around 750 people living near its plant in a Rio de Janeiro suburb. Soil there was found to contain up to 90 times the legal limit of toxic and potentially carcinogenic substances including lead and cadmium. Carlos Minc says the National Steelworks Company could be fined as much as $25 million for what he called "several environmental crimes."

CA DA Says Toyota To Pay $16M Settlement

April 8, 2013 10:11 am | by Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, Associated Press | News | Comments

A $16 million settlement over the safety recall of Toyota vehicles that were at risk for unintended acceleration and braking issues was announced Friday by Orange County prosecutors and Toyota Motor Corp. The suit was one of a flood of cases brought against the automaker after more than 14 million vehicles were recalled in 2009 and 2010 - many of them still waiting to be heard or settled.

Tyson Agrees To $4M Penalty To Resolve EPA Case

April 5, 2013 1:58 pm | by Jim Suhr, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. government says Tyson Foods has agreed to pay roughly $4 million in civil penalties to settle alleged violations related to eight accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia that happened over a four-year span and caused one death.

AR House Delays Vote On Steel Mill Proposal

April 5, 2013 1:57 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Arkansas House delayed a vote on a proposal to provide a company with $125 million in state financing to help build a new steel mill in northeastern Arkansas. Lawmakers didn't take up the proposal on Thursday as the legislation's sponsor, Rep. Monte Hodges, made a technical change to the proposal. The measure could come up Friday.

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