Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Ga. Court Blocks Coal Plant

A Georgia state court ruled that a proposed 1,200-megawatt coal plant could not be built unless carbon dioxide emissions were addressed. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore said the state Environmental Protection Division needed to reconsider its decision to issue an air pollution permit for Dynegy's Longleaf plant.

The court's ruling is the first to block a coal plant by citing a Supreme Court decision last year requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. Dynegy is seeking to build six new coal plants in various states.

"This will further accelerate the beginning of the end of the coal rush," said Bruce Nilles, a Sierra Club lawyer. But Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council and a lobbyist for the coal industry, said "It is doubtful that judges in other jurisdictions will rely upon this decision as precedent."


Chrysler Plans Production Cuts

Chrysler said it would close one Missouri plant indefinitely this fall and cut production at another due to slumping demand for trucks and other large vehicles.

Chrysler officials said in a conference call that the firm would shutter the St. Louis South plant, which makes minivans, effective Oct. 31. The St. Louis North plant, which makes full-size pickups, will reduce operations from two shifts to one. The automaker said the moves would affect 2,400 jobs.

Chrysler's U.S. sales were down 25 percent in May, a month in which the whole market dropped 11 percent compared with May 2007. Through the first five months of the year, its sales were off 19 percent, with huge drops in larger vehicles that make up most of Chrysler's lineup.


Cable Firms Face Lawsuit

Comcast and 11 other service providers must defend an antitrust lawsuit brought by consumers who say that multi-channel service packages thwart competition.

U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder, in an order posted June 27 on the Los Angeles federal court's Web site, denied a request by the companies to dismiss the case. Lawyers who seek to represent TV consumers sufficiently alleged that competition is harmed by bundling channels, Snyder said.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable provider, and Time Warner Cable, DirecTV Group, Walt Disney Co. and NBC Universal were among the companies sued in September, accused of preventing competition among TV providers by offering only prepackaged tiers of programming and by refusing to allow consumers to buy channels individually.


Anheuser-Busch to Cut Benefits

Anheuser-Busch plans to cut pension and health-care benefits for its salaried employees as part of an effort to slash $1 billion in costs by the end of 2010 and fend off an unsolicited $46 billion bid from Belgian brewer InBev.

Anheuser-Busch said in a memo to salaried employees that their individual, lump-sum payouts under the pension plan would be reduced by approximately 5 to 6 percent in 2009 and approximately 15 percent by 2012. Workers also will make a bigger contribution to their health insurance, rising to 25 percent from approximately 21 percent of the cost beginning in 2009.

HP Deal Clears Antitrust Hurdle

Hewlett-Packard said it received U.S. antitrust approval for its planned purchase of Electronic Data Systems for $13.2 billion. The deal still requires European antitrust approval, the go-ahead from EDS shareholders and the satisfaction of other closing conditions.


T-Bill rates were mixed. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday rose to 1.900 percent from 1.855 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills fell to 2.135 percent from 2.255 percent. The annualized return to investors is 1.936 percent for the three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,951.97, and 2.188 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,891.47. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 2.46 percent last week from 2.57 percent two weeks ago.

Compiled from reports by Washington Post staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

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