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Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

After W.Va. Chem Spill Comes Water Tasting Contest

February 21, 2014 12:35 pm | by John Raby, Associated Press | News | Comments

Just hours away from a West Virginia city plagued for weeks by chemical-tainted, undrinkable tap water, H20 enthusiasts will sip municipal waters like fine wine in search of the world's best. The judges approach their task much like connoisseurs of other liquids, rating the entries on appearance, aroma, taste, mouth feel and aftertaste.

EPA Seeks Tougher Safety Standards For Farmworkers

February 21, 2014 8:29 am | by Dina Cappiello, Associated Press | News | Comments

The changes would bar almost anyone 16 and younger from handling the most toxic pesticides and require no-entry zones around fields to protect workers from drift and fumes. Farms would also have to post no-entry signs to prohibit workers from entering fields until pesticide residues declined to safe levels.

BNSF Seeks To Upgrade Tanker Fleet After Accidents

February 20, 2014 2:24 pm | by Matthew Brown, Associated Press | News | Comments

BNSF Railway Co. says it intends to buy a fleet of 5,000 strengthened tank cars to haul oil and ethanol in a move that would set a higher safety standard for a fleet that's seen multiple major accidents. The Texas-based subsidiary of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. announced the voluntary step Thursday.

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Fertilizer Plant Fire Forces Iowa City Evacuation

February 20, 2014 1:09 pm | News | Comments

Authorities ordered the evacuation of an entire northern Iowa city Thursday as firefighters battled a fire at a fertilizer plant. Iowa State Patrol spokesman Scott Bright said the fertilizer used for crop dusting contains sulfuric acid, and that the evacuation is necessary to prevent residents from breathing in that chemical.

Nebraska Law That Allowed Keystone XL Struck Down

February 20, 2014 8:27 am | by Grant Schulte, Associated Press | News | Comments

A Nebraska judge on Wednesday struck down a law that allowed the Keystone XL pipeline to proceed through the state, a victory for opponents who have tried to block the project that would carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries.    

Higher Gasoline Prices Are On The Way

February 14, 2014 1:53 pm | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

Gasoline prices are already creeping higher. The nationwide average price has risen for seven days in a row to $3.34 per gallon, the highest level since October, according to AAA, OPIS and Wright Express. California, Connecticut and New York drivers are paying an average of $3.65 or more, the most in the lower 48 states.

Manufacturing.net Rewind: A Sluggish Economy; U.S. Drone Makers Get Shut Out

February 14, 2014 8:47 am | News | Comments

Check out some of this week's top headlines from across Manufacturing.net, from Chinese villagers attacking a factory to the Volkswagen incentives being threatened by the UAW. Also, a judge allows a lawsuit over cancer in children against Whirlpool, and a slowdown in China will be felt around the world.

Way Cleared For Medical Claims In 2010 BP Spill

February 14, 2014 7:57 am | by Kevin McGill, Associated Press | News | Comments

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' action Tuesday involves a settlement approved by a federal judge in January 2013 between BP, workers and some coastal residents who said they were injured or sickened during the spill cleanup.   

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PwC: Industrial M&A Activity Up In Second Half Of 2013

February 13, 2014 4:11 pm | by PwC US | News | Comments

While 2013 as a whole marks the second consecutive annual decline, deal activity in the second half of the year increased with 83 deals worth $35.7 billion versus 69 deals for $24 billion in the first half. The fourth quarter of 2013 recorded 40 transactions worth $50 million or more.

Study: Manufacturers Will Benefit From Low-Cost U.S. Natural Gas

February 13, 2014 10:59 am | by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) | News | Comments

Low U.S. electricity prices in natural-gas-fired plants, for example, are already encouraging investment in energy-intensive industries such as steel and glass. Not yet visible are the advantages that makers of intermediate products, such as plastic-resin pellets, and makers of finished goods, such as plastic toys and plastic auto parts, will reap from cheaper inputs.

Dow Chemical Rebuffs Third Point

February 12, 2014 11:09 am | News | Comments

Dow Chemical is rejecting a push by a major shareholder to break off its petrochemicals division. Dan Loeb's Third Point LLC revealed a significant stake last month in the Midland, Mich., company and immediately advocated for a separation of the division from others that have fared better.

W.Va. Coal Prep Plant Spills Slurry Into Creek

February 12, 2014 8:51 am | by Sarah Plummer, Associated Press | News | Comments

A pipeline ruptured at a coal-processing plant Tuesday, sending 108,000 gallons of coal slurry into a Kanawha River tributary, about 18 miles upstream from where a large chemical spill at a different plant tainted drinking water for 300,000 people a month ago.

Judge OKs Ohio Child Cancer Suit Against Whirlpool

February 11, 2014 2:09 pm | by John Seewer, Associated Press | News | Comments

The families believe smokestacks from Whirlpool's huge washing machine plant in Clyde sent a chemical compound suspected of causing cancer into the neighborhoods of several children who were among the first diagnosed. Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Mich., has maintained that there is no scientific or medical fact to back up the allegations.

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Competing Bills To Address Safety Of Oil Transport

February 11, 2014 2:04 pm | by Phuong Le, Associated Press | News | Comments

The movement of oil into and through Washington state is changing dramatically as more crude oil from the Bakken shales of North Dakota arrives by train and creates potential risk for new areas of the state, such as along the Columbia River.  

Lubrication Technologies Inc. To Expand To La.

February 11, 2014 12:07 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A $16 million upgrade of a manufacturing facility in Shreveport means new jobs in north Louisiana. Gov. Bobby Jindal and Lubrication Technologies Inc. CEO Chris Bame announced the project Monday. They say the project will create 75 new jobs with an average annual salary of more than $41,400 per year.

OSHA Cites La. Company For Health Violations

February 11, 2014 8:38 am | News | Comments

A flavoring manufacturer in Oakdale has been cited by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a fire last year severely burned a worker. OSHA on Monday cited Carol Callahan, doing business as Natural Advantage, for 19 serious violations at the facility. Proposed penalties total $91,000.

Google Passes Exxon To Be No. 2 U.S. Company

February 10, 2014 9:26 am | News | Comments

Google has passed Exxon to become the second most valuable U.S. company by market capitalization. According to FactSet data, the Internet company's market capitalization surpassed that of oil company Exxon Mobil Corp. last week. As of Friday's market close, it sat at $395.42 billion compared with the oil company's $392.66 billion.

Whitmore Acquires Fluid Defense Systems

February 5, 2014 4:13 pm | News | Comments

The Whitmore Manufacturing Company announced today its acquisition of Fluid Defense Systems, LLC, a manufacturer of fully-integrated lubricant storage and handling solutions. Whitmore says that since 2001, Fluid Defense had grown to being recognized in lubricant handling and contamination control for food and beverage and industrial manufacturing.

Utah Gives Final OK To Chevron Fuel Spill Deal

February 5, 2014 2:23 pm | News | Comments

Utah has given final approval to a $5.35 million settlement with Chevron after a pipeline leaked about 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel in northern Utah last year. The agreement includes $4.4 million for mitigation projects beyond efforts to clean up the marsh area near Willard Bay in Box Elder County.

Salazar: Build Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

February 5, 2014 2:11 pm | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press | News | Comments

Salazar said at an energy conference in Houston Wednesday that the pipeline could be built safely, as long as conditions are imposed. Those conditions would require the pipeline operator to meet tough environmental standards and even pay for conservation programs along the pipeline route.

BNSF To Invest $5B In Its Railroad In 2014

February 5, 2014 12:53 pm | News | Comments

BNSF plans to invest $5 billion in its railroad this year, including $900 million to expand capacity in the Northern Plains where crude oil shipments are surging. The railroad said Tuesday its 2014 spending plan is roughly $1 billion higher than last year. BNSF says it's responding to significant volume growth.

Company In W.Va. Spill Moving Chemicals To Pa.

February 5, 2014 12:19 pm | News | Comments

Thousands of gallons of the chemical that spilled into the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians are heading to Pennsylvania. Freedom Industries expected to move 3,500 gallons of crude MCHM from its Nitro, W.Va., facility to a coal facility in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

4 Workers Injured In Refinery Explosion In 2011 File Lawsuit

February 5, 2014 8:02 am | News | Comments

Kimberly Janvier, Irene Rombaut, Shawn Farrell and Sylvan Blake were working at the Co-Op refinery on Oct. 6, 2011 when the explosion occurred. They say that they all suffered severe physical injuries in the blast and they and their family members also suffered severe emotional distress and anxiety after the explosion.

U.S. Plastics Manufacturing Growth Continues

February 4, 2014 4:16 pm | by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association | News | Comments

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, which represents the nation’s third largest manufacturing industry, supports President Obama’s efforts to create jobs and strengthen the middle class by expanding the economy and negotiating sensible trade agreements.

Keystone XL Waiting List Grows For U.S. Oil Shippers

February 4, 2014 3:02 pm | by James MacPherson, Associated Press | News | Comments

TransCanada Corp. says it has a growing list of U.S. oil shippers signing up to use a proposed connector to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Calgary-based company announced in 2011 that it secured five-year contracts to move crude from the oilfields of North Dakota and Montana via a proposed five-mile-long pipeline known as the Bakken Marketlink.

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